5ft 6 ½ (168.9 cm)
I include him as this is generally regarded as his correct height by historians, that of 5ft 6.5 or 5ft 7. For some reason, the average heighted French Leader seemed to get a 'little guy' complex named after him when he wasn't really short...
Add a Comment171 comments
Average Guess (30 Votes)
5ft 6.21in (168.2cm)
Nik said on 21/Oct/19
He would be at the very top of the short range nowadays!
ajax509 said on 21/Aug/19
He stood well abover average height back then.
Miss Sandy Cowell said on 15/Aug/19
Well, would you believe it? Napoleon was born 250 years ago to the day.
Why he was considered so small beats me! Surely 5ft6 - 6.5 was quite an average height for the late 18th Century?
Napoleon Bonaparte, approximately 5ft6.25, born 250 years ago and lived from 1769 - 1821. 🎂
U.S. person said on 5/Jul/19
he's not more than 160 cm
Miss Sandy Cowell said on 2/Jul/19
That was rather ironic! I was just reading his comments when a Napoleon-related question came up on 'The Chase'!
@ Ian C. - Your comment from the 17th January 2018 really made me laugh. Nice one! 😂😂😂
5ft6 for the little jerk!
khaled taban said on 9/Jun/19
5'6.5" at peak, He was never short for his time.
He just gave me a bad complex 💔
said on 10/Mar/19
Rob could you see Napoleon measuring at 5"5 3/4 or 5"6 1/4? it's just that this listed seems quite high for him.
Like Hitler, sometimes exaggerations occur through history and some heights or terms stick. He may well have been only 5ft 6 flat though.
Ian C. said on 25/Dec/18
Taller than Horatio Nelson. But so was everybody else.
Ian C. said on 17/Jan/18
Well look, no matter how tall he was, he really did have a Napoleon complex. He was Napoleon. He liked to get people to dress up in silly clothes and invade other people's countries and kill them with muskets and swords. Jerk.
Don Julio said on 12/Jan/18
That was the average height back then in France, British propaganda is frustrating. He looked about 169-170 even though he is only in paintings
anon176 said on 13/Nov/17
Nonsense Joshua Katz he was well above average. Nowdays around 6feet.
said on 7/Nov/17
Christian-6'5 3/8" said on 7/Nov/17
No, 5'6-5'7" wasn't tall for a Frenchman in that era. Rob even says it on the description that he was average heighted.
Joshua Katz said on 7/Nov/17
Historian here. Napoleon wasn't a short guy for his time at all. The average height on France back then is estimated to be around 164cm and Napoleon was just below that, between 160cm and 162cm. The hoax only gained strength at the beginning of the 20th century, with the average height in europe increasing, the british started it to demoralize the french.
Christian-6'5 3/8" said on 7/Nov/17
No, 5'6-5'7" wasn't tall for a Frenchman in that era. Rob even says it on the description that he was average heighted.
anon176 said on 6/Nov/17
Back in that day he was a tall fellow. It should be called 'Sarkozy' complex.
Slim 6' said on 18/Oct/17
The full 5'6". 😂
Anuj said on 17/Oct/17
At that time people do not have photos or camera that why lot of British who are enemy of neoplean make fun of him by making funny cartoon of him in newspapers, but height of napoleon height is 5.2 measured by doctors after his death, this measurement is according to French standards, according to British standards he was 6.6...... And that time British people average height is also 5.6 so how neopoleon was short , and neopoleon was a army man so how can he was so short as enemies portrait him?
Adey P said on 31/Aug/17
A lot of people wrongly thought he was 5ft 2 - this was 5 ft 2 in French measurements about 5 ft 6.75 in UK measurements . Funny that if he's a success at 5 ft 2 he must've had a 'complex' whereas it's accepted as ambitious if he's not that short! 'Little General' was a term of affection at the time not an insult. Even if he was 3 ft tall he was still a 'bigger' man in terms of achievement, leadership and success than 99.9% of men who've ever lived.
Nik said on 9/Aug/17
@ Afka 9
I agree. It was quite tall!
Afka9 said on 7/Aug/17
169 cm was not short for 1800's france.
scotsheights said on 5/Jul/17
we'll never really know though...
Delvin chung said on 16/Jun/17
I always thought he was only 5'6
Hugh said on 30/May/17
Guys what are you on about? Even if he was 5'7" nowadays you wouldnt call him out for being short, the new French president is hardly 5'8" and the previous one was around 5'6" and there's been no talk about their stature...
John Davis said on 26/May/17
Makes no sense since he was taller than average at the time.
Ryan said on 30/Apr/17
I've seen the Napoleon exhibit and noticed his bed (both the military and the fancy palace one), it was TINY. I would not have fit on it, and considering he was an emperor whose bed would have been much bigger and fancier than it needed to be, he would most certainly been a short man by today's standards. But the question of course was the average height back then.
fact? said on 28/Nov/16
maybe 5'7 was short back then as well. humans haven't evolved that much...
Realist said on 10/Nov/16
He was 5'6
Sandy Cowell said on 2/Nov/16
Oh no! I put Henry the thirteenth instead of Henry the eighth! Sorry!
Arch Stanton said on 2/Nov/16
Actually I read in a book once that the average height for a British soldier in the Boer War was 5 ft 5 and a half in his socks or something. So for Napoleon's time he might have even been tallish at 5'6,5 LOL.
Arch Stanton said on 2/Nov/16
Yes, they estimated that Henry the 8th's clothing would have fitted a 6'3-6'4 guy I think I read 6 ft 2 somewhere though which is more believable. It would have probably been like 6 ft 8 by 16th century standards.
5'6.5 by late 18th century early 19th century standrads was probably average, Napoleon not a short guy for his times at all. No doubt in spirit he felt 10 feet tall and average not good enough.
white said on 31/Oct/16
especially considering that this notion is from the past where the average height was lower than 5'9!
Puma said on 31/Oct/16
Wtf, Napoleon isn't short.He is almost 170.
Sandy Cowell said on 31/Oct/16
How very interesting! I have always thought that Napoleon was nearer the 5ft mark! Who on Earth was consulted in the writing of our history books?
How come I've been led to believe that Henry XIII was 6ft? I think these history books of ours need some serious revision!
Flyin said on 22/Oct/16
In the 19th century would this have even been short.?. Having said that Henry 8th was 6'3.
grizz said on 6/Mar/16
@Orlando, he was so proud of his height that he wore lifts in every boot. smh
Matthew said on 12/Feb/16
From what I hear 5'6.5 was considered average for the time
Orlando said on 9/Dec/15
Of course he was short. 1.69 m IS short. Any time. Even official portraits depicted him as short. Probably he was proud of it. Upper class people in those days were already above average height. He was so smart he didn't give a **** about his height. He was a general and everybody obeyed him. And he bedded Josephine. So what?
Will said on 10/Oct/15
Napoleon was 5'6 1/2" is the correct height as stated in the above. The French people thought he was only 5'2" was just completely absurd. Napoleon was still considered a short man (below average height) IMO. His diminitive height did not bother me that much at all.
TJE said on 21/Aug/15
I'm guessing he shrunk to 5'6 by his 50s?
Jull said on 21/Mar/15
Hello. What is the average height of man at the 19th century in England?
Judd said on 10/Dec/14
i think he was shorter...he lived about two centuries ago, when the average height was much shorter than today...
in the beginning of the XVIII century, I think a person 5'7" tall was certainly considered in the average or even medium-tall, so for reasons connected of his propaganda, Napoleon claimed more than what it really was ... data generated during an era of conducting regime cannot be trusted ...
I should not wonder if he was actually 5'2 "or something close to it.
Arch Stanton said on 17/Oct/14
Viper says on 15/Sep/13
He wasnt short at all for his time
You sure he wasn't 5'4 Viper? :-)
Arch Stanton said on 17/Oct/14
LMFAO, haha, that's two names I never expected to see in one sentence "Napoleon and Justin Bieber"...
FlameBoy said on 16/Oct/14
i have always been hugely insecure about my height but seeing as napoleon and justin bieber are both my height (2 of the greatest humans to ever grace are planet IMHO) It does make me feel Slightly better about my vertically challenged self
Emil said on 28/Jan/14
His Elite Guard soldiers were over 6 foot in general, hence his short impression
Viper said on 15/Sep/13
He wasnt short at all for his time
Ål (olivia) said on 7/Sep/13
I really do belive he was about 169/170 cm. That sounds logical to me.
We all know that he looks very tall in paintings, but I think he wanted to be/look tall so he said to the painter to paint him tall.
pepebotella said on 23/Jun/13
He was 1.68 m a bit smaller than his partners but not small at all
TheVerve180cm said on 19/May/13
He was tall for his time.
Shorty said on 2/Apr/13
His height was announced in french feet and inches. 5 ft 2 in french feet is equal to 5 ft 7 in british ft. This is why british thought he was short. At that time 5 ft 7 was taller than average.
billy the kid said on 6/Mar/13
it's mainly 1.5m the hat made him look taller
Arch Stanton said on 17/Feb/13
Strange as 5 ft 7 was average for a guy even in John Wayne's generation. Average even latter half of 19th century was 5'5.5 measured barefoot for British army soldier, I think that was the average for a soldier in the Boer war in the 1890s from what I read, and Napolean was late 18th and early 19th century so if anything he'd have been upper average for that period at 5'6.5". I once read 5'0 for him. Rob you should do more "scholarly" entries on here into historical figures and the evolution of height over time. I could help you write and research something if you are interested. As a height resource, I think the site would improve with some facts and figures on average height through the ages and between countries as its often debated on the general height page, people comparing the Dutch and Croatians etc.
Will said on 15/Feb/13
There has been recent study done by forensic scientists nowadays that Napoleon was 5'6 1/2" and that is a very well-known fact known to be very accurate.
anonymous said on 12/Feb/13
Still taller than bieber :D
Will said on 2/Feb/13
Fine. I will put Napoleon at 5ft 6 now. That sound ok now, George?
Mike said on 2/Feb/13
Agreed that Napoleon stood 5ft 6.
GIBBT said on 23/Jan/13
"Will says on 10/Feb/12"
Napoleon was only 5'4" tall. No way in hell was he 5'7".
My Dad's is the same height as napoleon and hes taller than me and i'm 5'5
George said on 18/Jan/13
"Will says on 10/Feb/12
Napoleon was only 5'4" tall. No way in hell was he 5'7"."
And what's your source? Don't go pulling random numbers out your ass.
said on 24/Dec/12
u know what guyz in that time french if longer than england if its french he is 5,7 in french he is 5,2 Click Here
watch this video
thc-182 said on 11/Dec/12
he is thought to be short because of english propaganda and his imperial guard who towered him, since they had to be 6'0 and more.
But at 169 cm he was above average
ohweezy said on 13/Oct/12
Napoléon was a respectable height for men of the late 18th century. When he died, he was measured, that being part of the autopsy. He was measured in English standards, which are different from American standards. He was shorted about 4 inches because of this. A man in the 18th century being 5'6" tall was a very respectful height. Once again, something was lost in translation.
Robbie said on 25/Jul/12
In response to @brian: Napoleon died from stomach cancer, not suicide. Saying that he jumped off a cliff has no basis in factual evidence. I realize (and hope) that your comment is a joke, but I just wanted to clear things up.
brian said on 11/Jun/12
apparantly it was not napoleons body when they did the autopsy but that of golaith so napoleons body was never found seeing as he commited suicide off the island of elba when he jumped off a cliff... sorry to be the one to have to break it to you guys
Will said on 10/Feb/12
Napoleon was only 5'4" tall. No way in hell was he 5'7".
Attila_194cm. said on 19/Jan/12
I had read somewhere he was 168,in Paris before he became emperor he was nicknamed 'the puss in boots'...
LC said on 10/Nov/11
"Little Corporal" was a term of endearment. The English tried to demonize him by making him seem wee.
zack said on 26/Oct/11
when he was a child he was short and was made fun of his entire life the other children would call him little corporal while he was growing up
Tyson said on 12/Oct/11
Napoleon was reported to have picked up one of his dead soldiers in Egypt and moved the body to a more decent place. Plus, when Napoleon was finally captured by the British, it was a British General who reported his true height.
Les Hartung said on 11/Oct/11
He was taller than William Wallace, no wonder Napoleon lost the Battle of Waterloo cause he was sleeping instead of attacking the English!!
theenforcer22 said on 12/Sep/11
Surely, if he was short, it makes his achievements even more impressive?
said on 20/Jul/11
Rob can you start a page on Henry VIII? We need more historical figures on here, although they are difficult to estimate because of exagerrations but exhumed bodies will give a legit measurement of course..
[Editor Rob: it's hard enough trying to figure current day celebrities, but historical figures even harder.]
Shaun said on 20/Jul/11
Henry VIII was a legitimate 6'2" and his height was estimated at 6'4" by his armoury. Hell and he was in the 1500s. Henry VIII would have been the 21st century's version of Scott Schwarz. A virtual giant in those times and at his heaviest clearly over 300 pounds.
Shaun said on 20/Jul/11
Average height actually for a man from this period would have been 5'4-5'5" range. I read that the average height of a British soldier in the Boer War, 3/4 century after Napolean in 1898 was 5'5.5".
English Propaganda said on 10/Jul/11
Well above the average height of his time (including England). Not short at all. Another creation of English propaganda (they are masters).
Rikashiku said on 30/Jun/11
The French foot had him at 5'2.5". In english conversion, he was 5'6.6", a whole inch taller than the average Frenchman at the time.
What would of made him appear short in his life was the fact that his royal guard comprised of mostly tall soldiers giving the illusion that he was a short man. Though compared to the English, he would still be short since the average Englishman at the time was 5'7"(or 5'8"?), well at the time they were the tallest people in the world.
Hermann said on 8/Jun/11
The English said that Napoleon was short, because they were scared of him, and wanted their soldiers and general population to think that he was just a small man which would not pose a threat to great Brittain.
He was actually a little above the average height of his time.
Thierry said on 4/May/11
The question of Napoleon's height is part of his legend. But it doesn't seems to have any influence upon his decisions or actions.
The few time Napoleon himself refered to his physicals was not to complain about his height, but about his gain of weight and the lost of energy with age. Size never appears to have been an issue for him. It is more likely that he must have been average (smaller or not), but the question of his size will remain a non-ending debate now...
DURO said on 21/Apr/11
Napoleon being short was a myth started by the English.
If some people ACTUALLY had a history degree, they'd know this.
Ora et labora said on 31/Mar/11
Napoleon was 1.686 meter, what was french average height at his time. To compare. Swedish soldiers at that time had an average height of 1.634 meter.
That Napoleon was little is English propaganda from that time that still is alive. The Famous Lord Nelson and Napoleon was at same height.
louis the first said on 10/Mar/11
this argument isn't really an argument at all -- nappy's remains have been exhumed/observed multiple times, to test for residual poisons in an effort to try and pinpoint cause of death. his remains clearly and unambiguously indicate that in his prime, he stood about 5 ft 7 using today's english measure. this was average height for a european male in the 19th century.
the reason he was perceived as being short was because of his personal bodyguard retinue, who always accompanied him in the field, and frequently accompanied him in his civilian routine. they were former HRE and alsatian mercenaries, all of them at least 6 feet tall. they were selected for their size, as they could fully shield him. thus, he appeared 6 inches shorter than his "posse" and the english took the perception and used it as propaganda.
nappy was, in fact, taller than many of the generals and colonels who served with him. again, he was average height for that era.
Richard said on 4/Mar/11
I saw his uniform at the Paris War Museum years ago and thought at the time he must have been no more that 5'.
Cornelius Lucian said on 17/Feb/11
he was about 5' 2" in the old French measuremnt which is about 5' 6" or 5' 7" in our measurement. He's about 6" taller than me to he was pretty average height. maybe the other guys were just extremley tall :D
unknown said on 31/Jan/11
He was about 168 cm which is 5 foot 7 ish in English measure of the time or 5 foot 2 inches in the old French system, but 168 cm is 168 cm
Edd said on 25/Jan/11
His height was measured in an autopsy. He could very well have been 5'7 to 5'7.5 when he was younger.
TruebloodFan said on 10/Jan/11
He was short, because the people of his time, even his soldiers knew him as short. He wore lifts too. The French were always famous for their lifts, Luis XIV. wore them a century and a half before Bonaparte. Bony was probably 5ft4 or 5ft5, then with lifts achieved a 5ft6, 5ft7 look.
Legend said on 5/Jan/11
I think he was 5'2 - 5'3 range. The real propaganda is people now trying to say he was actually taller. He was short, deal with it.
edin taslidza nino said on 3/Jan/11
i think he was small men about 169 cm en biggest historical person all time sure.
Franco said on 23/Dec/10
That was english propaganda, for that age if the were 5'7 he would be really tall as 6'4 today, so is stupid to say he was shortnwhen he was above average height in that time.
addie said on 14/Dec/10
I hate to argue with, "HistoryMajor," but my degree is in Philosophy and I am going to go with the ancient Greeks and trusting my senses.
I stood next to Napo's uniform, including boots (it was not in a case or anything) and the shoulder was just an inch or so below my own and I'm a solid 5 foot 9 and was in sneakers.
That makes him, about, the sites stated, "5 foot 6.5 - 5'7"
Not to be a smart ass, but---
Sharon, Napolean was not French.
He must have just been the target of pretty saavy English propganda.
relux said on 6/Dec/10
I've seen a "redingote" some kind of an overcoat in A museum in Pareis, France. he was 5'2" tops.
Karen said on 16/Nov/10
Who was the French general who was shorter than Napoleon and served with him in Egypt?
John said on 27/Jun/09
How tall was Churchill? Around 5ft 7" - about the same as Napoleon, whom he greatly admired incidentally.
SGT B said on 6/Apr/09
The best explanation that I have heard for Napo's height is that while he was aerage height for a Frenchman of his day, he was somewhat short by English standards, a fact that the Brits took great delight in exploiting since height is often (spusiously) associated with leadership ability.
On the topic of leadership, however, I have also read that his troops called him "the little corporal" because it was obvious that his ambitions always exceeded his rank - even after he was the ruler of France.
Anonymous said on 15/Mar/09
I really think he was 169 cm. He just appeared with very tall people and that's what made him look short.
But even now, 169 is not extremely short.Just relatively short.
And the impression I have is that french guys are now quite tall, but plenty of them are still short.
said on 29/Nov/08
I don't believe 5'6" was short when he lived. I think it's more likely he was 5'2". Click Here
Look. In 1836, the average 16-year old boy in factories was 5' .
tank said on 11/Nov/08
Napoleon was about 5ft 6. His nickname was "le petit corporal". It didn't mean he was small as in "petit", it referred to the fact that he was happier spending time with the lower ranks than he was with the Majors and Generals. That is why he was so popular among the French people. His height equates to something like 5ft 10 by today's standards, so he wasn't small or short at all.
Cobra said on 21/Aug/08
I always thought Napoleon was 5ft2... coz 5ft6,5 at that time, I think that would have been even slightly above average and not small by any means at that time. Your sure about that???
georgia said on 18/Aug/08
Napoleon's supposed height of 5ft 2in is actually in French measurements, and converted into English measurements gives Napoleon a height of 5ft 6.5 in
Daniel said on 1/Jul/08
That makes sense to me, historymajor.
historymajor20 said on 15/Jun/08
Napoleon was never a corporal. he went to a military academy and started as a lieutenant, like anyone who graduates from a military institute. he was most likely 5'6 or 5'7, slightly taller than the average male, but not noticeably. and if a woman companion of 5'5 or 5'4 was to wear heels they would be very similar in height. if napoleon was 5'7 with his boots, she would be 5'7 with heels. it would not look well since the average male would be taller than the average female.
1.87 cm said on 15/Jun/08
oh really i cant believe that the average height was so short these times.It was because of bad health and diet.that explains that kings were rather tall
Anonymous said on 11/Jun/08
almost 5'7"?? but then he wasn't really short!!! by everyone talks about it seemed he was like 5'3" or something like that...incredible!
Aimie said on 31/May/08
That is incorrect.Actually Napoleon's autopsy report states that he was about 5'2 (British inches)which would be the equivalent of 1.57 meters. His doctor and valet got him measured right after he died. Some people claim those are actually "French inches" which would make him a bit taller but Elba was British territory. They used proper British inches to measure Napoleon.
Also, Bernard Chevallier in a recent biography of Empress Josephine states that she was asked not to wear high heels because she looked much taller than Napoleon. From her dresses at Malmaison, we know she was something between 5'4'' or 5'5'' tall, which confirms the theory that Napoleon was merely 5'2'' tall. The average height of a male in Europe in the late 18th century was around 5'5'' which means Napoleon was considered short even in his time...
Gutierrez said on 18/May/08
In a swedish best-selling biography, Napoleon is compared to the average swedish soldier at that time. An average swede was 166cm and Boney was 168,8. In fact, this all-time-short-tyrant, was over an inch taller than an average swede! BTW, the swedes have now an average height over 180cm... But! There is a logical explanation to Napoleons mark as a short-guy, his companion, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, which later was to become his enemy and king of Norway and Sweden, was 185cm from top to toe. So... when they were standing next to each other, this Bernadotte outdwarfed Napoleon like hell! This started all the rumours and then the difference between the french and the british unit sealed the rumours in Britain and the word spread out!
Manitobaboy said on 18/Apr/08
I think that pretty much seals the debate, Parker. Good job.
Parker said on 20/Mar/08
There is an Article on Wikepedia regards Napoleans height, and it all comes down to whether the French unit of measure (2.71cms = 1 inch)at the time was used to measure him at his Autopsy. If yes, he was approx 168cms. If the British unit was used (2.54)then he was 157cms. Guess what....NOBODY knows what unit of measure they used.Some argue as he was under British rule they would have used the 2.54,others argue that his doctor hated the Brits and would not have used that system. So he could have been 5'2, or 5'6........and 200 years after his death I doubt we'll ever find out!
marco said on 11/Mar/08
I read that Napoleon was vey short.I think that 1m69 is impossible.My teacher said 1m52.
Other celebs of the past;carlo alberto I(king of Italy)was 2,04 barefoot;Amedeo II di Savoia(prince of Italy) was 1,98 barefoot(source:italian army).
Manitobaboy said on 3/Mar/08
5'6" in late 18th and early 19th century Europe would not have been considered short. It's only been in the last century or so that average heights have approached the 5'8" - 5'10" range for Euro-Western men (essentially white). For a Corsican, he would have been moderately tall at 5'6" and probably average among the French. I'd review this, if I was you.
louis said on 27/Jan/08
hello I m french and a history teatcher and I can to give you a few heights
louis 14 was 157cm
francois 1er Was 195cm
louis XVI was 192cm
hi said on 17/Dec/07
I still don't understand why you wouldn't put Nicolas Sarkozy up there too, Rob. He's height complexed and reported at various heights, too.
Anonymous said on 15/Dec/07
My 8th grade History teacher said he was only 4 feet tall. Then my 9th grade teacher laughed at us when we told her that. She said he was 5'4", but I'm not sure what her source was. Short dudes always make the coolest bad guys, they always seem so fiesty!
Socom said on 8/Dec/07
I have even heard he was 5'7. For some reason I have always wanted him to be 5'2. I guess because the thought of someone of small stature being so powerful was kind of encouraging. Not that Im short(I am 5'10).
said on 10/Nov/07
carlo alberto I,king of italy,was 2,05.Click Here
luca said on 9/Nov/07
octavianus augustus was 1,71(source:italian enciclopedy);for jesus chirist I read the exams of syndon(some sources give him at 1,78 other at 1,87;he was tall).
Anonymous said on 19/Oct/07
does anyone of you know julius caesar, octavianus augustus and jesus christ's height??
ted said on 10/Oct/07
Dumas said that his father(the general of the army) was 1,95.
Dwayne said on 23/Sep/07
His guards were 5'10" in the French measure... which translated to 6'2". I've read a person say he was measured at 5'2" 3 lines (1/4th an inch) and 5'2" and 6 lines (1/2th an inch) while alive, in French inches. As well as a British man measured him at 5'7". At death, he was measured at 5'2" 4 lines (1/3rd of an inch)--I think evidence is fairly clear which system they used.
Lmeister said on 7/Sep/07
He was 5'6.5'' it was a convertion erro. He was surrounded by tall guards (5'10'' min) thats why he looked short in the paintings.
David said on 6/Sep/07
So i think Napoleon was really 5'2, since i dont think they were going to measure him in french inches in an island ruled by the British empire, also look at his paintings, mmm he looks shorter than normal, and normal in that time was 5'4" for most french soldiers.
shikoku said on 11/Jul/07
He was somewhere between 167 and 169 what was as tall as the Average Frenchman but don't forget hes Italian who where a bit smaller...
said on 3/Jun/07
amedeo II di savoia was 1,98
Melle said on 27/Apr/07
The avg French man's height in Bonaparte's time was 5ft5. Many books account that Napoleon stood below this average.
Matt said on 23/Jan/07
The reason Bonaparte has been given the reputation of being short is because he was typically seen with rather large body guards in public. Given the charicatures created of our current world-leaders I'm not surprised that the public "belittled" Bonaparte. I'm also not surprised that there is almost no mention of the fact that this guy actually did have a last name.
horacle said on 10/Jan/07
The french guys are not short anymore. I'm french I'm a solid 5'9 and i'm feel really short. Where i live the average height is 5'11.
ice said on 7/Dec/06
Hmm... Maybe the average height given at 5ft were also in french increments. That would make Napolean's 5'2 become 168 cm, and the average height at that time would be 163 cm. This would make sense. Him being six inches over the average height does not. If a man is 6'4 today, and hung around men that were all 7 ft, would you call him short? I think not. He would be tall, and the others would be freakishly tall.
leonari said on 3/Oct/06
if he truly was 169 he was quite tall for his time!!! Even nowadays there are many short guys in France who are below this mark...
Glenn said on 2/Oct/06
Wow.I thought he was 5-4.
Rut said on 1/Oct/06
I am now convinced that this height is correct or near what he really he was, really not that small for that time, I saw his costume many years ago and maybe due to other stories misjudge that he was much shorter.
Massimo said on 1/Oct/06
how do you know that Mozart was 5'4" ? I mean,his body was never found...Thanks.I'm a huge Mozart's fan! Napoleone was 5'6" 1/2, the right height for a male human being!
said on 8/Aug/06
How a really good 5'10" actor could portray a 5'6" character...Click Here
Rod makes himself look small...Click Here
Anshelm said on 24/Jul/06
Trueheight is right: 5'2" in old French units is NOT 169 cm/5'6½". And I'll add a decimal to that: one French inch was 2.707 cm, therefore 168 cm/5'6" is closer: 62 × 2.707 cm = 167.834 cm (or 66.076 in).
JDrozen said on 25/May/06
Message to Editor Rob: If you can add Napoleon's height can you add the height of his contemporaries? : Beethoven and Mozart both 5.4
Adan from Oz said on 24/Apr/06
As a French speaker, "le petit caporal" shouldn't be translated as "the little corporal". It shows the regard he was held in and closeness he had with his troops. "Petit" used this way is a term of endearment.
ForensicNYC said on 13/Apr/06
Napoleon was 6'1"...with his hat on...
trueheight said on 7/Apr/06
the french feet system was 2.71cm per inch hence, in France, Napoleon was regarded as 5'2in. but the standard(english) feet system is 2.54cm per inch hence 168cm or just over 5'6
Anonymous said on 11/Mar/06
The myth that Napoleon was a diminutive man was started in part by English caricatures of him during the time. His old guard and his personal guard were also made up of tall men (5'10 upwards, which was very tall in early 19th century France) who accompanied him. So it would be closer to the truth to say that Napoleon was always the short man around tall men.
sf said on 4/Mar/06
I gotta say I find it interesting that we're including A French leader from the early 1800's as a "Celebrity!" And, now I see just how old Frank2 is if he actually knew him!
[Editor Rob: he's only here because he's had a height complex named after him and has been reported at 2 different heights through history...]
Frank2 said on 4/Mar/06
Frank2 said on 4/Mar/06
Knew him too and he was five-three.
PhilinYuma said on 20/Feb/06
I have read the comments in this thread with great interest. I have no problem with Napoleon's height being the accepted 168.6-169cm, but like stAs, I have wondered why a a normal sized man would be known as "the little corporal". Perhaps he wasn't. I had hoped that there was a French equivalent of the English rank of lance corporal (U.S. PFC)but found nothing. When I looked up "petit" in my old Larouse, however, I found that it can mean, aside from "small", "young" and "of humble origin", "Terme d'affection ous de mepris" (a term of affection or scorn) much as "old" is used in English, as in "old man" or "old iron pants". "Le petit caporal" then, may be a term of affection used by his troops and a reminder of his humble bith. I would be very interested to hear an evaluation of this idea from someone whose idiomatic French is much better than mine.
stAs said on 14/Feb/06
I think its a mistake to put Napoleon at 169cm, if he remained famous as a small man it means that he was really short, 169cm for 18th century is like 180cm for 21st century so probably he was under 160cm
dr. wu said on 11/Feb/06
People can't seem to comprehend that average human heights will change with time. Napoleon was indeed 5'6, which was an average height during his era.
Orlando said on 10/Jan/06
In 1784 (when Napoleon was 14-15 years old) inspector Keralio reports his height as "quatre pieds, dix pouces, dix lignes" (French 4ft 10in 10 lines). That's 1.59 m (or English 5 ft 2.5-2.75 in). So, no big deal if he had grew up to 1.69 m...
In the past, POOR people were quite short, but middle/high class people were as tall as they are now, I think. Napoleon parents were not wealthy people and maybe he had poor nutrition as a child.
rut said on 31/Dec/05
Average height for men was 5ft??
Interesting, but I'm skeptical about Napoleon being 5 6 or 7..
It still think it would be interesting to add "the lord" to this site...
Italian University Librarian said on 3/Dec/05
On 2 December 1805, Napoleon's Grande Armée (including the Italian Royal Guard) gained the battle of Austerlitz. In 1805, minimum heights in the army of the Kingdom of Italy (Napoleon was king of Italy since 17 March 1805) were: 159.8 cm in the light infantry; 162.5 cm in the line infantry; 165.2 cm for the foot gardes d'honneur of the Royal Guard and for the vélites of the same Guard; 167.9 cm for the mounted gardes d'honneur of the Royal Guard; 170.6 cm in the cavalry; 173.3 cm in the artillery and in the corps of engineers; 176.0 cm for the grenadiers of the Royal Guard.
Gotxo said on 28/Nov/05
A faithful source.
They were aware of if the data they were pikcing was pied or foot?
Marc said on 27/Nov/05
I read in Maxim that he was 5'4"
Gotxo said on 2/Nov/05
Take this on account, many books that came from the anglosaxon world reflect that confussion between inch & pouces and feet and pied, pies and etc... Your affirmation can be traced in so accurate books (except for those mistakes)as "The experience of war in the age of reason" in eg.
It's a good book and has good sources but the enlgish trend to belive that in the world only exists their measures and such. Thus that anglocentric vision promotes despise for others.
The french started early appliying statistics to both militar & civil use.
Those measures were made by french staff and based on french measure sistems.
Or do you belive that an english spy came to measure frenchmen by himself.
However those data weren't converted to the proper english measures:
5 pieds de roi are 162cm, (the books talks of the pre-napoleonic era).
And yes the Legionaries collected so many success due to their organization & stragegy (not height of course) but consider that they were present in both the Republic & Imperium ages of rome (big time span), and they involve foreign made corps too. So maybe we both are reporting accurate data.
Historian said on 2/Nov/05
I wrote that since medical formulas say that u dont grow more than 2 or 3 inches past 15 years old in most cases, the average height in Napoleon army was 5 feet(1.53cm) so its possible and believable that he was below 5'6"(1.69cm), did i say u are saying rubbish just because u believe that people from that time was tall? i just said and its a fact that both french and italians(Latins)were shorter than europeans from north ie:scotch,nordics.
Roman legionnaires were 5'4" on average they succeed for their good discipline and outstanding military tactics.
Bleemo said on 29/Oct/05
Actually in the dark ages it wasn't uncommon for people to be around 6ft tall according to letters and such taken from the time. I was watching a documentary about some bodies they unearthed in the south of England, which they thought could be the person that the King Arthur myths were based on. Regardless of whether he was or not the anthrapologists estimated his height as genuinely close to 7ft tall based on the skeleton, a freak no doubt but it just shows you.
The reason people started to shrink in the middle ages was due to the lords taking over countries. They owned the farm land and only gave common folk poorer quality food. Where as previously people had farmed their own food and had a better share of the good stuff.
Also I beleive the average height of the Roman Army was 5ft7, which is pretty remarkable.
Gotxo said on 28/Oct/05
Yo wrote rubbish, you only tell things because they acomodate to what you think.
Why a man in those ages could not grew more than 2 inches by the shake of what law? your whim's? The remainings of some medieval north african in Spain revealed that some where even 6'1". Some Scottish middleages male corpses were measured up to 5'8" y 6'1" in certain places. Those heights were reached in the past and are not privative of todays (yeah not usual but not exceptional).
Of course malnourishment could thwart a man's growth but you are not exposing reivindicable theories but fancies (put a reason there please).
Italian University Librarian said on 28/Oct/05
I don't think that in Caesar's army many legionaries were 190 cm tall, if he wrote in "De bello Gallico", II, 30: "[...] plerumque omnibus Gallis prae magnitudine corporum suorum brevitas nostra contemptui est [...]" (all Gauls generally despise our short stature in comparison with the bigness of their bodies). Napoleon was said to be born in 1768 because he added one year to his real age when he married Joséphine, who was born in 1763, but declared herself born in 1767. When Napoleon was Emperor of the French and King of Italy, in the Italian Royal Almanac he resumed his real birth date, 15 August 1769, whereas Empress and Queen Joséphine was said to be born in 1768, in the same page in which her son Prince Eugène-Napoléon, viceroy of Italy, was said to be born in 1781 (this was true). Napoleon would have had no reason neither for declaring himself younger than his brother Joseph, giving up his primogeniture, nor for declaring himself born on 15 August, one of the main Roman Catholic feasts, the Assumption of the Virgin (note that Napoleon got 15 August celebrated as his saint's day, and this was a problem in Catholic contries like France and Italy).
Historian said on 27/Oct/05
People in the past lacked the nutrition of these days, so most of them(europeans)couldnt grow more than 2 inches in that time, as Mr.librarian says they werent tall, and i know many people who didnt grow more than 2 inches past 15 years old. About Napoleon birth in 1768 many are still researching on that, so its possible that he born in that year, and his brother Joseph(Giuseppe)born in January 7 1768 not in 1769.
Jason said on 27/Oct/05
I remember one of my Social Studies teachers in high school said the height limit in the Roman army was 193cm.
Italian University Librarian said on 27/Oct/05
I'm not an expert on ancient anthropometry; I quoted a footnote by L. Lenaz in Tacitus, "La vita di Agricola. La Germania", Milano 1990, page 199. Caesar in "De bello Gallico", I, 39, and II, 30, pointed out that his legionaries were a lot less tall than their German and Gallic enemies were. We must note that in the days of Caesar and of Tacitus, the Roman army was formed by Romans and Italics; but in the late Empire most "Roman" soldiers were foreign mercenaries. As for me, considering the heights of the ancient Romans and of Napoleon, I find quite right that I'm 164 cm short (it's a bit excessive to say "164 cm tall"...).
sf said on 26/Oct/05
Are you kidding me, Historian? LOTS of guys grow LOTS of inches past the age of 14 or 15! Many, don't have their growth spurt until this age, or after. Me, personally - I grew about 10 inches past that age!
Gotxo said on 26/Oct/05
Lol thnx librarian.
But i read somewhere tha roman legionaries where describeda as slim & tall at 170cm. I'm confused about that quote because it say they where roman legionaries but it doesn't state their origin though. Anyway is an historical fact that height in europe took a U shaped curve, being premedieval inhabitants taller than the later ones an that height was recovered slowly after middle ages. So a 170 cm roman might be possible, Mebbe i'm wrong, i accept comments as a way to improve.
Italian University Librarian said on 26/Oct/05
I thank Señor Gotxo; but I would add that we the Italians are the legitimate descendants of the ancient Romans and of their Italic allies; and the average height of the Roman and Italic legionaries was a bit over 160 cm, a lot below the average height of the Gauls and of the Germans (over 175 cm). To Mr. Historian: Napoleon's birth date is surely 15 August 1769 (it's an unfounded tale that his father inverted birth certificates of Napoleon, born in 1768 before the French occupation of Corse, and of his brother Giuseppe, born in 1769 under that occupation, so Napoleon became a French subject since his birth and could be commissioned in the French army; in reality, the Corsicans weren't French citizens until 1789).
Gotxo said on 26/Oct/05
Sorry historian, can't agree with you.
Nowadays kids grown much faster than in the past, but anyways he had a big time-span for grewth. One of my friends was 5'7 when seventeen and now is 6'3".
A rare case, i know, but serves us well to prove that his height at that eraly age is unconclusive, i even was 162cm when thirteen and now i'm 180cm.
We have the historical fact of his corpse measurement @ 169, he might very well reached that height gaining 9-10cm from his initial 159cm when 14 yold.
It doesn't make a nonsense to me but seems normal, whadda you think guys?
Historian said on 25/Oct/05
I agree Napoleon was beetween 14 and 15 years old in that time,since his birth date was between 1768 & 1769, but most men dont grow more than 2 inches past that age.
Gotxo said on 25/Oct/05
I don't think italians are smaller than french or spaniards. I think we're quite the same height: about 176-177cm for the thirty-somers and 178cm (if not a bit more) for those between 22-17 y old. And yeah, you the italians are great
Invented the Pasta, Alfa-Romeo, Ferrari, Ducati, have a great part in the design on many of the rockets the NASA launches, have characters as Umberto Eco and Dario Fo. And have more weight in the G7 than UK. Nothing to hide of in my opinion
gotxo said on 24/Oct/05
Historianthen Napoleon was only 14 when that comment was done and not yet fully developed and take this on account:
POUCE is the french word for INCH, a pouce/francaise inch was=2,707cm
A ligne is the 12th part of a pouce, so its pouce/12= 0,225 cm
And the pied the roi is =32,484 cm
so 4 pied de roi= 129.936cm + 10 pouces= 27.07cm + 10 lignes=2.25cm
makes a bit more than 159cm. And as said before he was not grown totally yet
Italian University Librarian said on 24/Oct/05
In 1783 the future Emperor of the French and King of Italy (genealogically the Italianest king of Italy from the 5th until the 20th century) was 14 years old. Not because I am the Italian below the average height that I am, but I would say it's very wrong to judge Italian generals according to their height. King Louis XIV of France refused to give Prince Eugenio of Savoy a rank in the French army for lack of height; then the Italian prince became one of the greatest military leaders in history as a general in the Austrian army, and defeated French troops several times.
Historian said on 24/Oct/05
Keralio wrote that description in 1783,and i dont see any cruel comments there unless u take the truth about the height of Napoleon as cruel, by the way my ancestors are both latin and German.
Gotxo said on 22/Oct/05
Lol, you the anglosaxons always have the need to despise us the latins.
Are the cruel comments a way to improve your opinions on you?
You mention an istorical comment, but you don't mention the year in wich it was done:
Napoleón first started the militar ecole of Brienne in 5th of may of 1779.
So normal he was this short, and yeah the Pied de roy don't equal the english foot,it was 32,48 cm , as the Castilian foot is 27,86 cm not the 30,54cm of the english one. Further more, even in some regions of the same european country an length measure was distinct than the same-named one in other ones.
(Have i depicted the complexity of the old Europe to your american mind?)
P.D That was 'fore the introduction of the metrical system, now used world wide
(That remebers me another european tale: "In the region of armorica a little village still resist the roman empire...) :P
Historian said on 22/Oct/05
5´2 in french inches..mmm well the following note is a REAL historical description of Napoleon height wrote by a french Military Inspector:
Report by Keralio, the Inspector of Military Schools, when Napoleon was in school at Brienne: "Monsieur de Buonaparte (Napoleon), born August 15th 1769. Height: 4 feet 10 inches and ten lignes. Physique: good. Health: excellent. His character displays docility, honesty and a sense of gratitude. His conduct is blameless. Has regularly distinguished himself by his diligence in Mathematics. Shows sufficient acquaintance with History and Geography, but is weak at exercises and recreation. Should make an excellent naval officer. Deserves to be entered for the Ecole Militaire at Paris."
4`10 french inches that is ,in english inches would be 5`2 !!, so he was clearly short for a General.
[Editor Rob: that is conflicting to what other reports say. I've no idea the accuracy of either to be honest...5ft 2 or 5ft 6.5! take your pick!]
Italian University Librarian said on 14/Oct/05
I agree Napoleon was 1.69, this is the height measured on his corpse. Many people believe he was very short because English caricaturists portrayed him so. By the same reason in Italy many people believe that our Prime Minister Berlusconi is very short, but he is an over 65 years Italian man of average height (I stood near him some times); Italian left-wing caricaturists portray him shorter than our President of Republic Ciampi, even if Berlusconi is a lot taller than Ciampi.
John B said on 7/Oct/05
No wy was he 5' 6.5 No way! need to check this one!
Name said on 15/Jun/05
Napoleon was 5'2" in French feet, which is 5'6.5" in English feet. The average man in his army was about five feet tall, and he was indeed taller than the average Frenchman of his day.
Oxford Professor said on 21/Apr/05
One notes from the records:
Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor Of France Stood 5ft 2in (5ft 6in) In English Feet.
I Do Hope That This Clears Up The Confusion, Ladies And Gentlemen.
He Was Rather A Large Man, In His Time, Where The Average Male Height Being Just 5ft (152cm)
said on 17/Apr/05
I read that he was 5'2" and that the average french man in that period was around five feet tall.
[Editor Rob: yes, yahoo has the answer on the 5ft 2 listing. I know around 1750 the average height of english men was just under 5ft...]