Sunday, November 8, 2009


Famed French conqueror of Europe, at first glance Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) is not an intimidating person. Standing short at not much more than 1.6 meters (5-and-a-half feet) Napoleon needed a way to portray himself in a more respectable manor. This was done whenever he had a portrait of himself painted. He would have one of his hands tucked into his coat. This was a common trend for men to do at that age whenever posing in order to show their dominance, a pose often seen in classical Roman sculptures as well. People who do did not know this would wonder why such an odd posture. Some speculations included such far fetched as Napoleon's hand being deformed, a secret code among his colleagues, having itchy fingers, or that the painters did not even know how to paint hands.None of these cases are true, however. Thank goodness, Bonaparte doesn't need a second set of nickname beside "Shrimp", "Shortstop", and "Pipsqueak".

Chaiz T.

Period 7


dragon_fire said...

Wow, some of the ideas for why Napoleon had his hand inside his shirt is quite ridiculous. The idea that it could have been a code to his friends is really amusing.

Vincent Waitzkin said...

Hello Mr. O'Donnell, a wonderful post on Nepoleon Bonaparte. I have been following your blog regularly for quite sometime and i would say you are doing a fantastic job of educating your students through the use of Web 2.0 technology. I am a sophomore history major @ Okhlahoma State University and have asked my history teacher back at my school to do the same. Also, many of the teachers' history blogs are restricted, but not yours, which is another great thing. Also, i came across these excellent history flashcards. Its also a great initiative by the FunnelBrain team. Amazing!!!

JT said...

I think that Napoleon was afraid that his size could be determined from his hands. You forget the nick names "short stuff" and "mini me"!