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June 15, 2007

Napoleonic

Via Reihan comes news that Napoleon "was in fact of average height for his time: the confusion stems from the difference between English and French measurements." Really? Indeed, some even suggest he was taller than average. The confusion is in how he was measured, and when. "Some historians claim the French emperor's height was recorded as 5 ft 2 in French units, corresponding to 1.68 meters or 5 ft 6 in Imperial units. A French inch was 2.71 centimetres while an Imperial inch is 2.54 centimetres." Others say he wouldn't have been measured with a French yardstick until after his death, particularly given that he was under British control on St. helena, and thus was almost certainly measured by a British yardstick, which would back up the 5 ft 2 claim.

June 15, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Exhume him or let this silly point get buried with him.

Reminds me of the penile inch, which is actually 80% of the U.S. inch making all penises 20% longer.

Posted by: Mudge | Jun 15, 2007 10:25:43 AM

Make that 25%.

Posted by: Mudge | Jun 15, 2007 10:40:31 AM

That reminds me of the old joke question about why women have such bad spatial relation skills -- it's because men keep telling them that 5 inches are really 12 inches.

Posted by: nolo | Jun 15, 2007 11:06:47 AM

Was he over 6'? No? Then he was short.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Jun 15, 2007 11:12:29 AM

I'm sure some of his clothing's still around-- why don't we just measure some of his coats & pants (breeches?). It wouldn't be a perfect estimate since we can only guess at how well they really fit, but it'd be close.

Posted by: latts | Jun 15, 2007 11:17:41 AM

What did people say at the time? Is there a diary out there where someone calls him short?

Posted by: McG | Jun 15, 2007 11:28:12 AM

Was he over 6'? No? Then he was short

Don't be silly. Reread the first line of the post.

And if was measured only at his death, then likely he was shorter than he was at the height of his powers. People do shrink as they get older, and I can only imagine that the shrinking might have been more severe some 200 years ago, when dietary science wasn't quite all that.

Posted by: Karl Steel | Jun 15, 2007 11:42:55 AM

lmao, People like tom use their own height as a substitute for the size of their dicks. And we all know the only reasons someone would want to use a substitute for that...

Posted by: soullite | Jun 15, 2007 11:51:30 AM

Ah, those short, America bashing French. Indeed, what a bunch of 5 foot assholes. Oh wait, I'm 5' 6".

Posted by: Adrock | Jun 15, 2007 11:55:07 AM

Mudge, I think most men would get over the notion that their dicks should be 12 inches if they actually had any idea how big a foot long penis would be. It sounds great, but the reality of lugging around a foot like kielbasa in your pants is another story.

And honestly, anatomically girth would be more important. The most sensitive parts of the female anatomy aren't anywhere near their cervix, they're the clitoris and the roof of the vagina. The skenes gland (one of several suggestions for the real 'g-spot') is only a few inches into them. You're more likely to have an impact on any of these if you're especially thick. Length is mostly a psychological thing.

Posted by: soullite | Jun 15, 2007 12:02:49 PM

soullite, you have to be either especially thick or just skilled...

Posted by: kvenlander | Jun 15, 2007 12:07:31 PM

Doesn't anybody remember his monologue in Time Bandits about the heights of other conquerors? Neither do I. A great comic performance by Ian Holm.

Posted by: norbizness | Jun 15, 2007 1:02:53 PM

soullite, you have to be either especially thick or just skilled... - kvenlander

I read your response before soullite's comment and I thought you were paying homage to soullite's amazing rhetorical skills. :)

Anyway, as to soullite's point, there are actually, um, sensitive spots right along side of the cervix (the cervix itself sometimes produces pain when, um, stimulated) in the fornix? So you'd think length would matter, but the fornix ain't a foot inside and anyway, th, AFAIK, length of the vagina adjusts to fit the size of the penis inside it.

Posted by: DAS, (Possibly Mad) Scientist | Jun 15, 2007 1:11:02 PM

People who knew him described him as below average in height, not dramatically short, perhaps 5’6”. The following excerpts are from
http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/napoleon/c_description.html

Miot de Melito: "In the middle of a number of Staff officers I noticed a man under middle height, of extraordinary leanness.”

Joseph Farington: "His person is below middle size. I do not think him more than 5 feet 6, I rather judge him to be less than that measure."

Doctor Corvisart in 1802: "Napoleon was of short stature, about five feet two inches by French measure [5 feet 6 inches, English measure], and well built, though the bust was rather long.”

Posted by: bloix | Jun 15, 2007 1:19:33 PM

Actually I was discussing various definitions of the inch, not really penises. The penis was just a vehicle.

Posted by: Mudge | Jun 15, 2007 1:30:29 PM

The penis was just a vehicle.

Wouldn't be the first time.

Posted by: twig | Jun 15, 2007 1:41:07 PM

I clicked on 'comments', wondering if the requisite penis-measurement comment had yet been made. And then I saw that penis size talk was half the thread! Even the ladies are getting into it. Well done, team, well done.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Jun 15, 2007 3:18:16 PM

Come on, folks. Sometimes a Napoleon complex is just a Napoleon complex.

Posted by: Nick | Jun 15, 2007 3:28:46 PM

Neil, the discussion was on an elevated level, worthy of Ezra's site. As you would expect.

Posted by: Mudge | Jun 15, 2007 8:04:50 PM

" It sounds great, but the reality of lugging around a foot like kielbasa in your pants is another story."

Actually, I have a funny story about that . . .

Posted by: Dan S. | Jun 15, 2007 9:58:08 PM

The French still use inches (pouces), especially for computer monitors. I am assuming that they are using modern American inches, 2.54 cm, and not archaic French inches, 2.71 cm, otherwise a lot of us American fanboys are going to be suffering from flat screen envy.

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Posted by: judy | Oct 8, 2007 9:22:49 AM

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