When you think of famous and imposing historical figures, Alexander the Great is probably pretty high on the list. However, you might be wondering how tall he really was, and how tall he would be compared with a human today, given that the average height of humans has increased over time.
It isn’t known exactly how tall Alexander the Great was, as he was born around 356 BC, and there are few reliable records of things like height from this time. However, historians have made an effort to figure out his height, and suggest that he was somewhere between 5 foot 4 inches (1.63 meters) and 5 foot 5 inches (1.65 meters).
That might sound surprisingly short to you, but remember that he reigned a very long time ago, and humans have undergone a few physical changes since then. We’re going to use this article to find out more about how his height has been calculated, as well as look at a few other facts about this man.
How Tall Was Alexander The Great?
Although there is no way to know exactly and there are quite varied guesses on the subject, it seems likely that Alexander the Great was around 5 foot 5 inches or 5 foot 4 inches. This is based on a number of different things. Unfortunately, Alexander the Great’s tomb in Alexandria was destroyed, meaning that his remains were lost, and it’s impossible to get a factual answer.
Historians have pulled together a variety of evidence to come up with the estimate of 5 foot 5 or 5 foot 4. One of the sources they have looked at is Plutarch, an ancient historian who wrote that Alexander the Great was “less than average height.”
This is not much to go on, but it does give us some clues. It’s worth noting that the average height for a man in the Classical period was around 5 foot 7 inches (1.70 meters). If Plutarch is correct that Alexander the Great was below this height, 5 foot 5 could be around the right number.
Another piece of evidence is that the Emperor Caligula is supposed to have plundered Alexander the Great’s grave, and taken his armor for himself – but then found that the armor was too small.
Frustratingly, nobody knows exactly how tall Calugila was either. He was famously tall for a Roman of his era, but Romans at this time were notoriously short, standing at around 5 foot 5 inches tall. This does indicate that Alexander the Great probably wasn’t much above 5 foot 5 inches, but doesn’t give us an accurate or definitive guideline.
A further anecdote about his short stature comes from his attempt to sit on the Great King of Susa’s throne. He supposedly tried to sit on the throne after Susa surrendered, but his feet would not touch the floor, and a stool had to be fetched for him to put his feet on.
Depictions from this time show Alexander the Great’s short stature, although it should be remembered that the Persians at this time were tall, and may not have viewed Alexander the Great in a positive light, which might have prompted them to depict him negatively.
Overall, though, these facts taken together make it clear that Alexander the Great probably wasn’t a very tall person, even for his day. Although we’ll never know for sure, it seems likely that he was only 5 foot 4 or 5 foot 5. To put that into context, modern Americans stand at around 5 foot 8 inches (1.73 meters).
How Old Was Alexander The Great?
Alexander the Great died when he was just 32 years old, which is very surprising to most people. By the age of 30, he had created one of the biggest empires in all of history, and he remained undefeated in battle, in spite of waging many fights. He is considered one of the most successful military commanders in history.
He was tutored by Aristotle until he was 16 years old, and he fought his first battle while he was still a prince. He won decisive victories for the majority of his fights, and victories for the remainder, and he was successful in both battles and sieges.
He founded around 20 cities with his name, including Alexandria in Egypt. He also funded the temple of Athena Polias, in what is now western Turkey. He was an enormously influential figure who achieved a phenomenal amount in his lifetime, and he was greatly admired by the Romans.
Unfortunately, little that is directly related to Alexander the Great remains. Some copies of his letters have survived, but most contemporary sources have been lost, and only later works based on them are still available. This makes it hard to determine anything very certain about Alexander the Great.
How Much Did Alexander The Great Weigh?
It won’t surprise you to learn that there aren’t any accurate sources for Alexander the Great’s weight, and indeed, there are few sources that even guess at his weight. Nothing has been recorded on the subject, as it was probably not considered of much interest to the history books.
It is known that he personally led his armies, and he was not afraid of fighting, which suggests that he was probably very physically fit. He likely fought in every battle where he was present, and he was known to be skilled with a sword.
If we take the average weight band for his height, he would have been between 117 lb and 150 lb (53 and 68 kg).
Of course, there’s no way to know if this is very accurate, but it should give you some idea of how much he probably weighed, based on his height and physical fitness. If his height estimate is wrong, his weight estimate is also likely to be inaccurate.
As you can see, Alexander the Great’s height is challenging to pinpoint, but it is thought by historians that he was probably around 5 foot 5 inches or 5 foot 4 inches. A lot of people are surprised by both his short stature and the fact that he was only 32 years old when he died!