Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

those historical gingers

For discussions of historical fiction. Threads that do not relate to historical fiction should be started in the Chat forum or elsewhere on the forum, depending on the topic.
User avatar
Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 919
Joined: September 2008
Location: Prague, Bohemia

those historical gingers

Post by Kveto from Prague » Fri October 15th, 2010, 5:58 pm

one thing ive noticed over my hf reading years is the high preponderence of important ginger (or red-headed) people in history. it seems sometimes that just about every important personage was a redhead of some sort.

just off the top of my head, figures who have been described as redheads: Richard the lion heart, Alexander the great, Elizabeth I (before going bald), Napoleon, Thomas Jefferson, Judas Iscariot, Oliver cromwell, Mark twain, King David, Vladimir Lenin, Boudicca, Antonin Vivaldi, Leif Erikson, Caligula, Mehmed the conqueror, Fredreick Barbarossa, Vlad Tepes Dracula, Vincent van Gogh and Achilles just to name a few. im sure there are many im forgetting.

It seems a disproportunate number of important people were gingery at least. Obviously, this would appear higher in families, but this important redhead phenomenon is not confined to royals. Is there something special about redheads? And while it is associated with celts, a quick look at that list shows it is by no means confined to celts.

There are lots of legends surrounding redheads, some positive but mostly negative.

Some of it might be differences in perseption. What some people consider ginger might be strawberry blonde or light brunette to others. Its hard to tell just how "red" some people were.
More likely its just that in the past there were simply more redheads running around in general. In fact, the earliest Europeans were probably tan skinned redheads (picture that!). Ive heard that at present there are fewer redheads in proportion to the population than ever in the past (1 percent of the population). It was much higher in the past, most likely. but still uncommon enough to be mentioned by chroniclers. But red hair has constantly been being reduced in the population. Its kind of sad to imagine that in the future we might not have any more gingers.

Anybody else notice how many HF characters seem to be redheads? or is it just me? :-)


PS its still me, Keny, despite the name change :-)

M.M. Bennetts

Post by M.M. Bennetts » Fri October 15th, 2010, 6:03 pm

Napoleon was never a red-head. He's frequently described as sallow, with pock-marked cheeks or bad skin, and dark lank hair. Seems he wasn't overfond of washing...He was about 5'3 to 5'4 in height, (I've measured his clothes...), had very small feet as you might expect...

None of his siblings either or parents were redheads either...

User avatar
Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 919
Joined: September 2008
Location: Prague, Bohemia

Post by Kveto from Prague » Fri October 15th, 2010, 6:09 pm

[quote=""M.M. Bennetts""]Napoleon was never a red-head. He's frequently described as sallow, with pock-marked cheeks or bad skin, and dark lank hair. Seems he wasn't overfond of washing...He was about 5'3 to 5'4 in height, (I've measured his clothes...), had very small feet as you might expect...

None of his siblings either or parents were redheads either...[/quote]

its a pity these Napoleon was short rumors persist.

After the famous general and emperor died in 1821, his body was autopsied in France, and his height was noted as 5 foot 2 inches. This measurement was in French feet (pieds de roi) and was never correctly converted to standard English measure. In English feet, Napoleon stood 5 foot 6.5 inches tall. So the poor guy was shorted a full 4.5 inches in height.

In his day, 5'6.5" was a perfectly respectable, nothing-to-be-ashamed-of height for a man. In fact, Napoleon was actually slightly taller than the average Frenchman of 1800.
Last edited by Kveto from Prague on Fri October 15th, 2010, 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

annis
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4585
Joined: August 2008

Post by annis » Fri October 15th, 2010, 6:14 pm

There's quite a tradition of red hair amongst English monarchs- both the Plantagenet and Tudor dynasties had a tendency towards red hair. Howard Fast describes Queen Berenice of ist century Judea as having red hair as well, though I don't know if any contemporary sources back that up.

User avatar
Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 919
Joined: September 2008
Location: Prague, Bohemia

Post by Kveto from Prague » Fri October 15th, 2010, 6:20 pm

[quote=""M.M. Bennetts""]Napoleon was never a red-head. He's frequently described as sallow, with pock-marked cheeks or bad skin, and dark lank hair. Seems he wasn't overfond of washing...He was about 5'3 to 5'4 in height, (I've measured his clothes...), had very small feet as you might expect...

None of his siblings either or parents were redheads either...[/quote]

its a pity these Napoleon was short rumors persist.

After the famous general and emperor died in 1821, his body was autopsied in France, and his height was noted as 5 foot 2 inches. This measurement was in French feet (pieds de roi) and was never correctly converted to standard English measure. In English feet, Napoleon stood 5 foot 6.5 inches tall. So the poor guy was shorted a full 4.5 inches in height.

In his day, 5'6.5" was a perfectly respectable, nothing-to-be-ashamed-of height for a man. In fact, Napoleon was actually slightly taller than the average Frenchman of 1800.

any number of sources will back this up.
http://www.experiencefestival.com/napol ... ons_height

and Antinie Gros' 1796 portrait of napoleon depicts him with ginger hair. I mentioned in the thread that these are personages DEPICTED with red hair. I dont know either way. And since I wasn't there in the 18th century, Im not going to state it as a fact, either way.


And once again, thank you for completely ignoring the content of my post in order to pick on a minor detail in an attempt to impress with your "knowledge". Its starting to become a bit of a habit with you and my speculative posts, isnt it? A habit that, frankly, im getting a bit tired of.
Last edited by Kveto from Prague on Fri October 15th, 2010, 7:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 5716
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: "The Infirmary" by L J Ross
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Fri October 15th, 2010, 7:13 pm

annis;[b wrote:71781]There's quite a tradition of red hair amongst English monarchs[/b]- both the Plantagenet and Tudor dynasties had a tendency towards red hair. Howard Fast describes Queen Berenice of ist century Judea as having red hair as well, though I don't know if any contemporary sources back that up.
Yup, and of course the current Prince Harry is a redhead, which shows it's still in the genes (despite various rumours as to his parentage!:rolleyes :) .
Currently reading: "The Infirmary" by L J Ross

annis
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4585
Joined: August 2008

Post by annis » Fri October 15th, 2010, 7:30 pm

I think there might be red hair in the Spencer family as well. In fact during the televised funeral of Princess Diana, I noticed a Spencer cousin who looked the spitting image of Prince Harry!

User avatar
Leo62
Bibliophile
Posts: 1027
Joined: December 2008
Location: London
Contact:

Post by Leo62 » Fri October 15th, 2010, 7:40 pm

[quote=""Kveto from Prague""]o Ive heard that at present there are fewer redheads in proportion to the population than ever in the past (1 percent of the population). It was much higher in the past, most likely. but still uncommon enough to be mentioned by chroniclers. But red hair has constantly been being reduced in the population. Its kind of sad to imagine that in the future we might not have any more gingers.
[/quote]

Yay! I'm an endangered species! :D
listen:there's a hell
of a good universe next door;let's go
ee cummings

SGM
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 699
Joined: March 2010

Post by SGM » Fri October 15th, 2010, 7:49 pm

[quote=""Madeleine""]Yup, and of course the current Prince Harry is a redhead, which shows it's still in the genes (despite various rumours as to his parentage!:rolleyes :) .[/quote]

It doesn't look red to me -- it looks sandy -- but then I've never met him and you may be right.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

User avatar
Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 919
Joined: September 2008
Location: Prague, Bohemia

Post by Kveto from Prague » Fri October 15th, 2010, 8:27 pm

[quote=""Leo62""]Yay! I'm an endangered species! :D [/quote]

you could always attend this :-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redheadday

Post Reply

Return to “General Discussion”