How tall was Alexander the Great? One of the most well-known military commanders in history, Alexander the Great is revered for his many victories and the massive empire he established. One thing that has long baffled historians and researchers is how tall Alexander the Great really was. Fortunately, there are a number of accounts and estimations that make pinpointing this ancient leader’s actual stature easier than expected.
How tall were ancient Athenians?
According to anthropological examinations of ancient Greek skeletons, the average height of a male in the Classical period (510–323 BC) was 170 centimeters (or 5’7″). Alexander the Great (356–323 BC) lived during this period. The same figure was 172 centimeters, or 5’7.7″, for male Hellenistic-era ancient Greeks (323–32 BC).
Was Alexander 5 feet tall?
Alexander the Great’s father, Philip II of Macedon, was 5 feet, 11 inches tall, and the average height for men was 5’7″. Since Alexander was only “less than average height” according to Plutarch, he was definitely not 5 feet tall.
What is the height of the Alexander?
According to historical records, Alexander the Great’s height was most likely between 5’4″ and 5’5″ (1.62 and 1.65 meters).
How big is Alexander the Great?
According to Plutarch, Alexander was “well built,” but his height was probably around 5’4″ and 5’5″ (1.62 and 1.65 meters). So, Alexander the Great was most likely average in size when it came to how big he was.
How Tall Was Alexander’s Father?
For comparison, Alexander the Great’s father, Philip II of Macedon, is believed to have worn the armor on display in the Royal Macedonian Tombs in Vergina, Greece, which was found in the burial chamber of the king. It is believed that the armor is only a good fit for someone around 1.8 meters (5 feet, 11 inches) tall. This was first thought to be true based on his bones, and it makes Alexander’s father so much taller than the average man at the time.
Alexander the Great’s true height is a common subject of discussion. The destruction of his tomb in Alexandria and the subsequent loss of his remains, which would have provided irrefutable proof of his height, make this question harder to answer.
Ancient people who lived on the Mediterranean’s periphery were, on average, much shorter than people do now. People who ate more meat and fat were also often taller than those who didn’t. When the Romans first came across the Germanic peoples, they were astounded by the height of their men and women.
How Tall Was Alexander the Great?
According to historical records, Alexander the Great’s height was between 1.62 and 1.65 meters or 5’4″ and 5’5″. This conclusion is based on anthropological research from the modern day, historical occurrences of Alexander’s time, and the reports of ancient historians like Plutarch, who said Alexander was “less than average height” but “well built” (Plutarch, Alexander 4.3).
But how tall was the typical Greek or Macedonian during Alexander the Great’s day? According to anthropological examinations of ancient Greek skeletons, the average height of a male in the Classical period (510–323 BC) was 170 centimeters (or 5’7″). Alexander the Great (356–323 BC) lived during this period. The same figure was 172 centimeters, or 5’7.7″, for male Hellenistic-era ancient Greeks (323–32 BC).
Historian Peter Green depicts Alexander in his Alexander of Macedon as being quite short, even by Macedonian standards. Alexander was definitely not taller than 5’7″ because historians initially got this value from analyzing the contemporary artwork of Alexander. However, the majority of the Macedonians he fought alongside were well-nourished, robust, and probably taller than he was. This seems logical, considering that medieval knights’ armor was typically sized for males of around 65 inches in height.
The average height of soldiers enlisting in the French and English armies in the 1850s was still 5 feet 5 inches, and it was 5 feet 3 inches for the Italian army. According to Suetonius, Caligula plundered Alexander’s grave, taking the general’s armor. When Caligula attempted to wear Alexander’s armor, he failed because it was too small for his tall stature. Although Caligula (born in 12 AD) towered above the typical Roman, the Romans were notoriously short at the time. According to what has been unearthed thus far, a typical Roman male was roughly 5 feet 5 inches tall, and the soldiers were a bit taller.
The Greeks of the North, like the Macedonians, probably stood a little taller and had more farmland at their disposal than their southern counterparts. And since Alexander was known to be physically fit and athletic, you may expect that this would have made him taller than the average person of his time. But this was not the case at all; in fact, he was shorter than the average Greek, but by how much?
Historical Accounts of Alexander the Great’s Height
Since authentic documents and measurements from the time period are lacking, it is impossible to ascertain Alexander the Great’s height. According to the accounts of the famous historians Diodorus, Arrian, and Curtius, his friend, the nobleman general Hephaestion, was taller than Alexander. This fact comes from an encounter between Alexander the Great, Hephaestion, and the captured Persian royal family after the Battle of Issus (333 BC). Queen Sisygambis, a member of the royal Darius family, thought Hephaestion was King Alexander because Alexander himself was significantly shorter than Hephaestion.
Ancient Persian reliefs, such as that of Darius the Great at Behistun, show that the Persians have long taken pride in their height. The tale of Alexander the Great’s failed effort to sit on the throne of the Great King of Susa is commonly recounted as an example of his short stature. Rejoicing at the result and the surrender of Susa, the capital of the Achaemenid Empire, Alexander stood on Darius III’s throne in March 324 BC, but his feet did not even touch the ground.
A servant placed a stool under Alexander’s feet to maintain his dignity. This caused a reaction from one of Darius III’s former servants as the stool was intended for Darius III. General Philotas went on to point out that Alexander’s use of the stool symbolized his victory over the previous Persian ruler. This incident is widely acknowledged in various Alexander biographies, including Philip Freeman‘s Alexander the Great, page 195.
If the story about this occurrence is to be believed, Alexander was shorter than the average ancient Persian ruler of the period. But the ancient Persians were not sea people like Greeks, Romans, or Egyptians, and on average they were taller than other nations.
Conclusion Regarding Alexander the Great’s Height
Alexander the Great was probably between 5 feet 4 inches and 5 feet 5 inches tall, (1.62 and 1.65 meters) which would have put him below the average height for his time, just as Plutarch said.
Alexander the Great had a significant influence on world history, regardless of how tall he was. His military successes paved the way for the global dissemination of Greek civilization. Alexander’s legendary status is helped by sculptures and other works of art that show him as a larger-than-life figure.