Don’t ever let your appearance be an excuse to not reach your full potential. More on that tomorrow but, for now, peruse through the pictures and short quotes on 6 influential historical figures who were widely described as “unattractive” or downright “ugly.”
1. Socrates (469 B.C. – 399 B.C.)
Who? A famous Greek philosopher.
Ugly? “Beauty, including personal, was vital. It was linked with being good. However, Socrates was ugly, according to all accounts, a fact that made him a good target for Aristophanes in his comedies.” (ancient history.about.com)
2. Jean-Paul Sartre (1905 – 1980)
Who? Famous French philosopher.
Ugly? Evidently Sartre first realizes that he was ugly when he got a haircut. When he came home, his mother wept at the sight of him because she had specifically designed his former haircut to hide some of his ugliness. (nytimes.com)
3. George Eliot (1819 – 1880)
Who? Also known as Mary Ann Evans, Eliot was a famous English novelist (Middlemarch and Silas Marner)
Ugly? “magnificently ugly, deliciously hideous.”
“It must be a terrible sorrow to be young and unattractive: to look in the mirror and see a sallow unhealthy face, with a yellowish skin, straight nose, and mouse-colored hair,”
“a woman with next to no feminine beauty or charm or of countenance or person,” (newyorker.com)
4. Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)
Who? The 16th president of the United States. He abolished slavery in 1865 and was assassinated later that year at the Ford’s Theater.
Ugly? “homeliest boy in the area”
“thin as a beanpole and ugly as a scarecrow”
Lincoln even joked about his appearance:
(1) After being called two-faced in a debate: ‘I leave it to my audience. If I had another face, do you think I’d wear this one?’
(2) “I was once accosted … by a stranger who said `Excuse me, sir, but I have an article in my possession which belongs to you.’ `How is that?’ I asked, considerably astonished. The stranger took a jackknife from his pocket. `This knife,’ said he, `was placed in my hands some years ago, with the injunction that I was to keep it until I found a man uglier than myself. Allow me now to say, sir, that I think you are fairly entitled to the property.’ ”
(3) “I don’t know why you boys want such a homely face.” — Lincoln, when urged to have a photograph
(4) “On repeated occasions he remarked to some woman or to an audience, `In the matter of looks I have the advantage,’ meaning that they had to look at him while he couldn’t see himself.” (physical-lincoln.com)
5. Queen Charlotte (1744 – 1818)
Who? Charlotte married King George III and became the queen of England and Ireland.
Ugly? “‘She was famously ugly,’ says Desmond Shawe-Taylor, surveyor of the Queen’s pictures.” (theguardian.com)
6. Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
Who? Ludwig Van Beethoven is an acclaimed German composer and pianist. (Listen to the Best of Beethoven)
Ugly? “Beethoven was only about 1.6 meters (5 feet, 2 inches) tall, an ugly man, often unkempt, with a pockmarked face,” Ladenburger said. (www.dw.de)