Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Life and Works of Nostradamus - Part One

Michel de Nostredame was born in the French town of St. Remy, in the year 1503, the 14th of December, about noon. His father, a notary, was James Nostradamus, a name which is equivalent to de Nôtre Dame (of Our Lady) - some say he was of a noble, others of a Jewish descent. His family, however, had been converted to Christianity, and claimed to be of the tribe of Issachar, which had the gift of prophecy. His mother's was Renée de Saint Remy and her ancestors were skilled in mathematics and medicine. 
It was his great-grandfather who gave Michel a first taste for the celestial sciences. He was put to school in Avignon and later he went to the university at Montpellier, to study philosophy and the theory of medicine.Montpellier had the most famous school of medicine in all France; it was an ancient school, said to have been founded by Arabian physicians when forced to fly from Spain. 
Learned and medical as it was in the days of Nostradamus, the city of Montpellier could not escape visitation by a great plague, and Nostradamus had to retreat to Narbonne, Toulouse, and Bordeaux. In these towns he commenced practice; four years later he returned to Montpellier to take his Doctor's degree. On his way back to Toulouse he passed through Agen, a town on the Garonne, where he met with the learned Jules César Scaliger, who became his intimate friend. Scaliger even induced him to take up his permanent residence in the town, but some time later their cordiality grew less and rivalry sprang up between them.
In Agen, Nostradamus married a "very honorable" lady, though history has not divulged her name. By her he had two children, who died young; she also died. Finding himself alone again, he returned to Provence. 
When Nostradamus reached Marseilles, he was invited by the Parliament of Provence to come to Aix, where he stayed three years, receiving a salary from the city from the time the plague broke out. His services must  have been recognized as valuable. 
Nostradamus now went to Salon de Craux, where he married for the second time, with Anna Ponce Genelle. He had three boys and three girls with this lady. It was here that he foresaw great mutations throughout the whole of Europe, and civil wars and troubles that were coming to the kingdom of France. Feeling an unaccountable and new enthusiasm springing up in his mind, amounting at last in a maddening fever, he sat down and wrote his "Centuries" and other "Presages" - the first is dated 1555. Nostradamus kept them by him, afraid to publish them because they would bring him in danger. At last, overcome by a desire to be useful to the public, Nostradamus produced them and no sooner had he done this, than the rumour ran from mouth to mouth, at home and abroad, that something marvellous and admirable had appeared. 
"One cannot see of what use they could be to the public," Nostradamian Chas A. Ward says in his book Oracles of Nostradamus, "as they could not possibly be understood till they were interpreted after the event and by it. In some of the quatrains he says as much himself. He no doubt published them because he felt an intense longing so to do; and, when the mind of a man reaches this stage of desire, it will not take him long to find some excellent reason for carrying out the impulsion."
The prophecies of Nostradamus divided the public. Some called him a visionary, others a fool. He was accused of magic and being in too close treaty with the Devil to be honest. A lot of the really important people of his time thought that he was endowed with a supernatural gift. Amongst these were Henri II and Catherine de Medici. One this is certain, Nostradamus felt much hesitation to publish his prophecies, and when he at last took the step, in 1555, he addressed the book to his infant son and not to any public character. 
Nostradamus was summoned to the Court at Paris, loaded with honours and consulted on high matters, and he displayed nothing but moderation and good sense. Contentedly he returned to his modest home at Salon de Provence. The repute of Nostradamus grew, and it came to the ears of Queen Catherine de Medici and Henri II that he had published the first seven Centuries of his "Prophecies" (the remaining Centuries, the Sixains, and Presages, were not published till long after). In 1556, they sent for him to attend the Court in Paris. The Lord Constable Montmorency attended him at his inn, and presented him to the king in person. And the king showed him high favour, and ordered him to be lodged at the palace of the Cardinal de Bourbon, during his stay in the capital.
His majesty and the queen dispatched him to Blois, to visit their children, give his astrological opinion and cast their horoscopes. It is quite certain that he did not tell them precisely what he thought, for the princes were Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III, whose tragical fates he had already correctly set out, with unmistakable clearness, by the forecasts in his strange book.
Nostradamus returned to Salon and was so much encouraged that he set to work and completed his"Centuries", consisting now of three hundred more quatrains. He seems to have printed these new quatrains in 1558. 


Nostradamus had now become a court favourite. And then Henry II was killed, in 1559, at the tournament of St. Quentin, was Nostradamus had foreseen in Quatrain 35 in Century I - and we will tell here in a next episode of Life and Works of Nostradamus. 

So... Stay Tuned!

Nostradamus Links: (Nostradamus did not predict the election of Obama, or Obama being the AntiChrist.) (Nostradamus did not predict the End of the World in 2012 either.) (= Nostradamus and the Lost Treasure of the Bourbons)


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