I don't know if generalising this kind of military culture, if there is one, to other countries is true but what I want to know is that why soldiers keep their right hand inside.

An example: Napoleon keeps his right hand inside


1 Answer 1


That painting is of Napoleon Bonaparte. He is portrayed with a hand-in-waistcoat gesture, common to the portraits of men from the 18th and 19th centuries. That is pretty much the only reason that can be validified. There are many other theories for why Napoleon often hid his hand (including stomach pain, irritated skin, and more), but the only reason that seems to be true is that it was a common pose of the time.

The gesture is usually associated with Napoleon, as seen in these two other paintings of him. However, per the Wikipedia article,

The pose originates from classical times — Aeschines, founder of a rhetoric school, suggested that speaking with an arm outside one's toga was rude.

Other Sources:

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  • vigilantcitizen.com/vigilantreport/the-hidden-hand-that-changed-history/ the writing in this page suggests a somekind of religious ideology. Oct 11, 2013 at 18:23
  • Although many of the people in that article were masons, some are known not be masons. For example, Stalin and Marx were well-known to be atheists. Napoleon was a Roman Catholic, which starkly objects to freemasonry. The article finds pictures of men in that pose who are free-masons and deduces from that that all men in that pose were freemasons secretly. It seems to be a whole bunch of speculation and baloney.
    – Luke_0
    Oct 11, 2013 at 18:40
  • @user2552867 That site is just crackpot conspiracy theories, as pretty much any site about freemasons would be. Oct 11, 2013 at 18:40
  • George B McClellan. Perhaps he was copying. Some good pictures here. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_B._McClellan. He was not a Freemason as far as can be determined. Oct 11, 2013 at 19:43
  • An interesting observation that this carried through from ancient toga wearing. As having one arm disabled while wearing a toga was symbol of class (only labourers need both hands); perhaps 18th century men of gentle breeding (gentlemen) were implying that they too didn't need brutish hands; simply the aura of their nobility to get things done. Oct 12, 2013 at 2:56

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