He was often refered to as the prophet of doom because of the visions he had involving death and war. His followers say he predicted the French Revolution, the birth and rise to power of Hitler, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. His prophetic vision....942 cryptic poems called "The Centuries" groups in sets of 100. A single verse is commonly called a quatrain and 100 quatrains a Centurie. They have enthralled generation after generation of readers. He predicted some of history's most monumental events from the Great Fire of London (1666) to the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger.
His parents were of simple lineage from around
Nostradamus' great intellect became apparent while he was still very young, and his education was put into the hands of his grandfather, Jean, who taught him the rudiments of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Mathematics and Astrology.
When his grandfather died, Nostradamus was sent to
Since it was the age of the Inquisition and the family were converted from Judaism to the Catholic faith by the time Nostradamus was nine years old, his parents were quite worried, because as ex-Jews they were more vulnerable than most. So they sent him of to study medicine at
Nostradamus obtained his bachelor's degree after three years, with apparent ease, and once he had his license to practise medicine he decided to go out into the countryside and help the many victims of the plague.
After nearly four years he returned to
While practising in
Then a series of tragedies struck. The plague came to Agen and, despite all his efforts, killed Nostradamus' wife and two children. The fact that he was unable to save his own family had a disastrous effect on his practice. The he quarrelled with Scaliger and lost his friendship. His late wife's family tried to sue him for the return of her dowry and as the final straw, in 1538, he was accused of heresy because of a chance remark made some years before. To a workman casting a bronze statue of the Virgin, Nostradamus had commented that he was making devils. His plea that he was only describing the lack of aestheticappeal inherent int the statue was ignored and the Inquisitors sent for him to go to
Nostradamus, having no wish to stand trial, set out on his wandering again and kept well clear of the Church authorities for the next six years. We know little of this period. From references in later books we know he travelled in the
By 1554 Nostradamus had settled in
Once the city had recovered, Nostradamus moved on to Salon, which he found so pleasant a town that he determined to settle there for the rest of his life. In November he married Anne Ponsart Gemelle, a rich widow. The house in which he spent the remainder of his days can still be seen off the Place de la Poissonnerie.
After 1550 he produced a yearly Almanac - and after 1554 The Prognostications - which seem to have been successful, and encouraged him to undertake the much more onerous task of the Prophecies. He converted the top toom of his house at Salon into a study and as he tells us in the Prophecies, worked there at night with his occult books. The main source of his magical inspirations was a book called De Mysteriis Egyptorum.
By 1555 Nostradamus had completed the first part of his book of prophecies that were to contain predictions from his time to the end of the world. The word Century has nothing to do with one hundred years; it was so called because there were a hundred verses or quatrains in each book. The verses are written in a crabbed, obscure style, with a polyglot of vocabulary of French, Provencal, Italian, Greek and Latin. In order to avoid being prosecuted as a magician, Nostradamus writes that he deliberately confused the time sequence of the Prophecies so that their secrets would not be revealed to the non-initiate.
It is extraordinary how quickly the fame of Nostradamus spread across
One could only wish that there had been a witness to record their meeting. Nostradamus and the Queen spoke together for two hours. She is reputed to have asked him about the quatrain concerning the king's death and to have been satisfied with Nostradamus' answer. Certainly she continued to believe in Nostradamus' predictions until her death. The king, Henri II, granted Nostradamus only a brief audience and was obviously not greatly interested.
Two weeks later the queen sent for him a second time and now Nostradamus was faced with the delicate and difficult task of drawing up the horoscopes of the seven
Soon afterwards Nostradamus was warned that the Justices of Paris were inquiring about his magic practices, and he swiftly returned to Salon. From this time on, suffering from gout and arthritis, he seems to have done little except draw up horoscopes for his many distinguished visitors and complete the writing of the Prophecies. Apparently he allowed a few manuscript copies to criculate before publication, because many of the predictions were understood and quoted before the completed book came off the printing press in 1568, two years after his death.
The reason for this reticence was probably the king's death in 1559. Nostradamus had predicted it in I.35 and may have felt that it was too explicit for comfort and that it would be advisible to wait some years until things had quietened down. But the following year, 1560, King Francis II died, and this time he was openly quoted.
In 1564 Catherine, now Queen Regent, decided to make a Royal Progress through
But by now the gout from which Nostradamus suffered was turning to dropsy and he, the doctor, realized that his end was near. He made his will on
He was burried upright in one of the walls of the Church of the Cordeliers at Salon, and his wife Anne erected a splendid marble plaque to his memory.
It was rumored that a very secret document existed in his coffin, that would decode his prophecies. In 1700, the coffin was moved to a prominent wall of the Church. Careful not to disturb his body a quick look inside revealed an amulet on his skeleton, with the year 1700 on it. One night in 1791 during the French Revolution, soldiers from
Under the Oak (coffin) lightening strikes in Gienne.
Not far from there (Salon) is hidden the treasure
For after long centuries it is grabed
Found, shall die, eye pierced by a spring (of a trigger).
I 27 The Desecration of Nostradamus' Tomb