While the highly anticipated film “Napoleon” by Ridley Scott will be released in theaters on November 22, here are 3 things you may not know about the Emperor of the French, played in the film by Joaquin Phoenix.
The hand in his vest is not just linked to his stomach pain
We all have in mind this mythical posture of Napoleon, in military uniform, his hand slipped halfway into his vest, at chest level. Several reasons can explain this gesture and the first would be medical. According to a rather contested theory, the Emperor stood like this because of his stomach pains. This attitude would also be the result of a good education. When he was young, he was sent to school in Brienne, where he was said to have learned to hold his arms in an “honest and decent” position. On the other hand, you should know that at the time pants, called “breeches”, did not have pockets.
He liked to pinch people he liked
Napoleon I had a strange and surprising way of showing his affection. When he was in a good mood, he had the annoying and painful habit of pinching his close friends and his servants, in order to show them his interest. His chief valet and confidant, Louis Constant Wairy, had indicated in his memoirs that Napoleon had a weakness for his ears. The statesman pinched them until they turned blue. He was also known to pinch women’s noses, cheeks, and the chins of newborns.
He wasn’t small
Contrary to what one might believe, Napoleon, who was nicknamed by his soldiers “the little Corporal”, was not short. According to his doctor François Antommarchi, the Emperor measured five feet, two inches and four lines, or nearly 1.69m, a height slightly above the average of his time. Indeed, in the 19th century, the average height of French people was 1.65 meters. The idea that Napoleon was short on legs would have been conveyed by the English. This legend would also be linked to its imperial guard, made up of men measuring at least 1.70m.
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