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Thread: Classify Charlemagne

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    Classify Charlemagne









    Charlemagne was very tall, but not robust

    Paper mentioned by John Hawks: "Reconstructed stature of 1.84 m falls at about 99% of Medieval heights [. . .] Thus, tall stature indeed could have contributed to the success of “Charles the Great” as a king emperor and soldier."

    Below, a couple other papers that appeared in Hawks's citeulike feed.

    The biological standard of living in Europe during the last two millennia: "We find that heights stagnated in Central, Western and Southern Europe during the Roman imperial period, while astonishingly increasing in the fifth and sixth centuries."

    New Light on the "Dark Ages": The Remarkably Tall Stature of Northern European Men during the Medieval Era: "Based on a modest sample of skeletons from northern Europe, average heights fell from 173.4 centimeters in the early Middle Ages to a low of roughly 167 centimeters during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. [. . .] It is plausible to link the decline in average height to climate deterioration; growing inequality; urbanization and the expansion of trade and commerce, which facilitated the spread of diseases; fluctuations in population size that impinged on nutritional status; the global spread of diseases associated with European expansion and colonization; and conflicts or wars over state building or religion."
    Please anthropological comments only. For historical discussions go here:

    Charlemagne: Hero or Villain?
    Forum View on Charlemagne

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    Well, we can classify those pictures, but I remind you they're depictions from hundreds of years later and not of the real Charlemagne. As for those pictures I'd say unsurprisingly some kind of Nordid, which we all know was the Ideal of beauty and connected with the strongest spiritual minds. If I had to specify my assumptions I'd say -maybe- Keltic Nordic, but it's very hard to tell with beard and crown.

    This is the oldest frontal depiction of him, made 56 years after his death(in the middle):

    Gives a very different impression than those other pictures, yet there's no reason to believe it's more accurate.
    Additionally a sideview from the time around his death:

    It's useless for classification purposes I guess.

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    What do we know about the Franks in general anyway? Perhaps it would be easier if we had a starting point to work with in the first place. Also, from wikipedia:

    The physical portrait provided by Einhard is confirmed by contemporary depictions of the emperor, such as coins and his 8-inch bronze statue kept in the Louvre. In 1861, Charlemagne's tomb was opened by scientists who reconstructed his skeleton and estimated it to be measured 74.9 inches (190 centimeters).[8] A modern study based on the dimensions of his tibia estimate his height as 1.84 m. This puts him in the 99th percentile of tall people of his period given that average male height of his time was 1.69 m. The width of the bone suggest he was gracile not robust in body build[9]
    So, tall and lean? I wish his skull had survived.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saxnot View Post
    What do we know about the Franks in general anyway? Perhaps it would be easier if we had a starting point to work with in the first place. Also, from wikipedia:



    So, tall and lean? I wish his skull had survived.
    Thank you for reminding me about Einhard's description!
    Einhard: He was heavily built, sturdy, and of considerable stature, although not exceptionally so, since his height was seven times the length of his own foot. He had a round head, large and lively eyes, a slightly larger nose than usual, white but still attractive hair, a bright and cheerful expression, a short and fat neck, and he enjoyed good health...
    That's somewhat contradicting with the description of the skeleton, which gives of a rather Atlanto-Nordid vibe. Einhard's description sounds rather like that of a Cromagnid(Borreby?) and Dinarid.

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    Charlemagne

    I always heard that he was lean, of tall build, had blue eyes and brownish hair that turned white with age and cares. Much unlike his color picture...

    He's buried in Aachen, for the Germans and Aix-la-Chapelle for the French. Perhaps we ought to reopen his tomb and grab a DNA sample? Just remember, the "Curse of Charlemagne" is a real and constant threat ...

    After we get a DNA sample and have it tested, it will give us a much more accurate picture of his background than thousand year old pictures and statues that have been tainted by "Artistic License"...

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    ?

    I think we know enough of his background due to genealogy. A DNA sample wouldn't help establishing his physical appearance, which this thread is about.
    I've got to agree with your lines about the "artistic freedom" though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Juthunge View Post
    A DNA sample wouldn't help establishing his physical appearance, which this thread is about.
    Huh? This thread is about classifying his racial phenotype. A DNA examination would go a long way to tell us what racial sub-type he belonged to, and thus what he may have looked like as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saxnot View Post
    Huh? This thread is about classifying his racial phenotype. A DNA examination would go a long way to tell us what racial sub-type he belonged, and thus what he may have looked like as well.
    Since when does a DNA examination tell anything about someones phenotype or racial sub-type? Did I miss something there? At least it doesn't tell anything about someones bone structure/facial relief. It's possible with pigmentation though, as far as I know.

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