Was Napoleon a short man? Yes.
How do I know? I’ve seen his clothes, up close and personal.
In 2003, there were a great many exhibitions in Paris commemorating his coronation in 1803. And among these, in the Louvre, was that rather splendid gold embroidered quasi-classical tunic which he wore to place the crown upon his own head, and which can be seen in Jacques Louis David’s vast painting of the event. (Which was also on display)
And having measured this garment against the shoulder to floor measurement of my companion, whom I know to be five foot, three inches, I am certain that he could not have been any taller than five foot, four inches. Because said garment did not stop well above his ankles, it stopped at the ankle, as we know from the painting.
I would also add that he clearly weighed considerably more than the seven stone which the aforementioned companion weighs–despite the avowals that he only gained weight once he’d married Maria Louisa. Because my companion would have required the assistance of one or possibly two pillows to fill out that garment as its owner had. So…by 1803 he was a little pudge.
Further examination of his clothes in the Musee de l’Armee only confirmed my conclusions about his lack of inches. He also had, for those who are interested, very small feet…
Sort of changes one’s impression of the man a bit, doesn’t it?