Did You Know?

Napoleon Bonaparte having been short is a myth

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History has recorded that Napoleon Bonaparte – Emperor Napoleon I  – was a squirt, a short-arse, a virtual midget.

So strong is this impression, that they’ve even named a complex after him. The Napoleon Complex, or Short Man Syndrome, is said to be an over compensation for being short of stature.

The myth that he was short stems primarily from the fact that he is listed as 5 feet 2 inches tall at the time of his death. However, this is 5 feet 2 inches in French units. In modern international units, he was just shy of 5 feet 7 inches.

This likely stems from the fact that his personal bodyguards were all very tall and broad; there being height requirements for his guard. So wherever he went, people saw him with his guards who were all much bigger than him and thus he looked small in comparison, earning him the nickname “Le Petit Caporel” or in English “The Little Corporal”, though in his day this was typically used as a term of affection for him and not as an insult.

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