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How tall was Pepin the Short

The Riff-Raff Element

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I have googled this (in both English and French), but although much reference is made to the fact that  Pépin le Bref doit son surnom à sa petite taille, there seems to be no authoritive online source prepared to come up with a figure. There is some talk of his being 3'6" but wielding a 6 foot weapon for which he needed both hands, but I don't believe it. The 3'6" that is, not the size of his broadsword, because the people making this claim appear to be silly. My copy of Les Rois qui ont fait La France is also silent on the subject but does take time to note that his son Charlemagne was "much taller" at 6'4", or the metric equivalent.

Does anyone know?

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[quote user="Cat"]

Quatre pieds et une main (1,54m) ?

Although I would say that 4 ft 4 ins is around 1.32 metres [8-)]


Thank you Cat: I didn't find that site in my explorations. 1.54 is, what, about 5'2", which I cannot believe was short for the epoch. Come to think of it, how tall is our current Mighty Leader? For Pepin 4'4" sounds much more like it.

Perhaps they were using metric  feet or something? [:)]

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Actually, it's even more complex. Le Bref may mean 'the younger'. Or it may be ironic (as in Harold Finehair, so named because he had manky hair - in fact 'short' may refer to Pippin's hair as well, so it may have been very long or, umm, very short).

And even if he was, literally, abbreviated, the average size at the time was about 5' 6" (off the top of my head) so at 5' 2" he could well be brief. And the ruling classes tended to be taller than the peasants. So he might have been short at the nobby end of the market, so to speak.

So, you pays yer money and yer takes yer choice...

And bear in mind that his old man was a hammer.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Just found this one..

This is from the bottom notes on the Wiki entry :

" Pepin's name can be very confusing. Historically, historians have vacillated between preference for Pepin, derived from the French Pépin, and the German Pippin. His nickname is also subject to whims, le Bref being translated as either "the Short" or "the Younger". The Younger is explained as referring to the fact that he was the younger of the two Arnulfing Pepins who ruled as mayors of the palace; the Short as deriving from the tales of Notker Balbalus regarding the King's diminutive size. More novel suggestions include a suggestion that "the Short" referred to his hair—since he was the first Frankish king to wear his hair shorn short. Dutton, PE, Charlemagne's Mustache. "

I also heard that he was always alking on the beach and was very interested in falconary. He therefore became known as "Shore Tarse"? Not too sure how to verify that though [8-)]

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