Napoleon was arguably the greatest prevalent in history. Even the Duke of Wellington, who famously defeated him at the Battle of Waterloo, called “his presence in the field made the difference of 40,000 men”. But there are many fables about Bonaparte ‒ who conquered most of Europe before his downfall in 1815 ‒ and the the breaks of his penis is one such myth.
The story goes that after Napoleon deceased in 1821, Dr Francois Antommarchi concluded the autopsy by removing his penis.
He is then communicated to have given the general’s member to Father Ange-Paul Vignali, the father responsible for giving Napoleon his last rites.
Vignali’s relatives are declared to have sold the penis and, in 1977, it came into the possession of urologist Karl Lattimer, from Philadelphia.
On the contrary 10 people have been allowed to see Napoleon’s penis since it was obtained by Lattimer, although X-rays have been conducted and his son, Evan Lattimer, requisitioned that the penis is “very small”.
Napoleon myth explained in claim French general’s ‘very small penis sold in USA’
Napoleon was arguably the world’s greatest ever general
The penis, which was not properly preserved, has been compared over and above the years to a piece of leather, a shriveled eel and even beef jerky.
In 1927 when it depend oned on display in New York, TIME Magazine compared it to a “maltreated strip of buckskin shoelace”.
After all, the story is merely an example of a mistranslation.
Historical author Shannon Selin allude ti out that the auction catalogue, when Napoleon’s penis was originally beadrolled in 1924, claimed that the object was verified by a memoir called Revue des Deux Mondes.
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Napoleon inspects the Sphinx in Egypt
She notes that: “The French version of that passage in the Revue des Deux Mondes (1921) says Antommarchi ‘avait extrait d’une côte deux petits morceaux’ which he throw in the toweled to Vignali.
“‘Une côte’ is a rib.
“Nowhere in the memoir does it say that Napoleon’s penis was deleted.”
The fate of his penis is not the only myth about Bonaparte, though.
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Napoleon was defeated by Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo
He is also largely portrayed as having been a short, inflexible tyrant ‒ but this is a result of British propaganda.
After all, the Frenchman’s European conquests represented the greatest take threat to British global hegemony after the Industrial Revolution.
Britain and France were the two enormous powers of the age, the former with its booming industrial economy and world-leading argosy and the latter with its intellectual superiority in the form of Enlightenment thinking.
The overdue 18th and early 19th century, then, saw a period of almost perpetual war between Europe’s two main forces.
And before 1805, with French armies running in full sway across Europe, the threat of a Napoleonic invasion of Britain was very honest.
This was convincingly nullified after the Battle of Trafalgar, when Nelson decimated the French quick and landlocked Napoleon’s forces to continental Europe.
The Duke of Wellington famously defeated Napoleon
But the risk remained ‒ and Napoleon was the living, breathing embodiment of opposition to the British Empire in this years.
Just as Adolf Hitler was before and after World War 2, Napoleon was the kibitz of jokes, cartoons, games and political point-scoring.
British cartoonists such as James Gillray oft mocked him, depicting him dwarfed by a cocked hat.
This is originally where the reification of his short physique came from as he was nicknamed ‘Le Petit Corporal’ or the Anglified ‘Shallow Boney’.
The infamy of his small frame even gave birth to the ‘Napoleon Complex’ ‒ the thought that people of short stature might compensate by becoming numberless aggressive.
Napoleon’s remains lie in the dome of Les Invalides in Paris
But Napoleon was 5’7” and actually a tall man for the era as he was above average top.
Like the fate of his penis, the myth of his short stature was solidified by a mistranslation.
At the stretch of his death, the French definition of a foot was larger than Britain’s.
So when a French doctor outed Napoleon’s autopsy he registered Le Petit Corporal’s height as 5’2”.
British newspapers surfaced this directly, even though an accurate translation would equate to 5’7”.
But that was it, the whopper was born, and Napoleon will forever be remembered as the short, stubborn French miscellaneous who had all of Europe in his grasp but ultimately failed at Wellington’s hand.
He died in expulsion on the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic on May 5, 1821.
In 1840, Louis Philippe I acquired permission from the British to return Napoleon to France.
His remains are now entombed in a porphyry stone sarcophagus in the grave in the dome of Les Invalides in Paris.
For legendary English poet Lord Byron, Napoleon was the contraction of the Romantic hero ‒ the persecuted, lonely, and flawed genius.