Nostradamus
Overview
 
Michel de Nostredame (14 or 21 December 1503 – 2 July 1566), usually Latinised to Nostradamus, was a French apothecary
Apothecary
Apothecary is a historical name for a medical professional who formulates and dispenses materia medica to physicians, surgeons and patients — a role now served by a pharmacist and some caregivers....

 and reputed seer
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 who published collections of prophecies
Prophecy
Prophecy is a process in which one or more messages that have been communicated to a prophet are then communicated to others. Such messages typically involve divine inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of conditioned events to come as well as testimonies or repeated revelations that the...

 that have since become famous worldwide. He is best known for his book Les Propheties (The Prophecies), the first edition of which appeared in 1555. Since the publication of this book, which has rarely been out of print since his death, Nostradamus has attracted a following that, along with the popular press, credits him with predicting many major world events.

Most academic sources maintain that the associations made between world events and Nostradamus's quatrain
Quatrain
A quatrain is a stanza, or a complete poem, consisting of four lines of verse. Existing in various forms, the quatrain appears in poems from the poetic traditions of various ancient civilizations including Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and China; and, continues into the 21st century, where it is...

s are largely the result of misinterpretations or mistranslations (sometimes deliberate) or else are so tenuous as to render them useless as evidence of any genuine predictive power.
Quotations

Tomorrow, I shall no longer be here.

Last words, as quoted in Famous Last Words : The Ultimate Collection of Finales and Farewells‎ (2004) by Laura Ward and Robert Allen; reported to have been said to his secretary Jean de Chavigny :Often referred to as the Centuries there are numerous translations and interpretations of these verses.

Estant assis de nuit secret estude,Seul repousé sur la selle d'aerain,Flambe exigue sortant de solitude,Fait prosperer qui n'est à croire vain.

Sitting alone at night in secret study;it is placed on the brass tripod.A slight flame comes out of the emptiness andmakes successful that which should not be believed in vain.

When twenty years of the Moon's reign have passedanother will take up his reign for seven thousand years.When the exhausted Sun takes up his cyclethen my prophecy and threats will be accomplished.

Q 48

Encyclopedia
Michel de Nostredame (14 or 21 December 1503 – 2 July 1566), usually Latinised to Nostradamus, was a French apothecary
Apothecary
Apothecary is a historical name for a medical professional who formulates and dispenses materia medica to physicians, surgeons and patients — a role now served by a pharmacist and some caregivers....

 and reputed seer
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 who published collections of prophecies
Prophecy
Prophecy is a process in which one or more messages that have been communicated to a prophet are then communicated to others. Such messages typically involve divine inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of conditioned events to come as well as testimonies or repeated revelations that the...

 that have since become famous worldwide. He is best known for his book Les Propheties (The Prophecies), the first edition of which appeared in 1555. Since the publication of this book, which has rarely been out of print since his death, Nostradamus has attracted a following that, along with the popular press, credits him with predicting many major world events.

Most academic sources maintain that the associations made between world events and Nostradamus's quatrain
Quatrain
A quatrain is a stanza, or a complete poem, consisting of four lines of verse. Existing in various forms, the quatrain appears in poems from the poetic traditions of various ancient civilizations including Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and China; and, continues into the 21st century, where it is...

s are largely the result of misinterpretations or mistranslations (sometimes deliberate) or else are so tenuous as to render them useless as evidence of any genuine predictive power. Moreover, none of the sources listed offers any evidence that anyone has ever interpreted any of Nostradamus's quatrains specifically enough to allow a clear identification of any event in advance.

Biography

Childhood

Born on 14, or 21 December 1503 in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is a commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in southern France.-Geography:...

 in the south of France, where his claimed birthplace still exists, Michel de Nostredame was one of at least nine children of Reynière (or Renée) de Saint-Rémy and grain dealer and notary Jaume (or Jacques) de Nostredame. The latter's family had originally been Jewish, but Jaume's father, Guy Gassonet, had converted to Catholicism around 1455, taking the Christian name "Pierre" and the surname "Nostredame" (the latter apparently from the saint's day on which his conversion was solemnized). Michel's known siblings included Delphine, Jean I
Jean de Nostredame
Jean de Nostredame was a Provençal historian and writer. He was the younger brother of Michel de Nostredame.He was baptised at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence on 19 February 1522...

 (c. 1507–77), Pierre, Hector, Louis, Bertrand, Jean II (born 1522) and Antoine (born 1523).
Little else is known about his childhood, although there is a persistent tradition that he was educated by his maternal great-grandfather Jean de St. Rémy – a tradition which is somewhat undermined by the fact that the latter disappears from the historical record after 1504, when the child was only one year old.

Student years

At the age of fifteen Nostredame entered the University of Avignon
University of Avignon
The University of Avignon is a French university, based in Avignon. It is under the Academy of Aix and Marseille.-See also:...

 to study for his baccalaureate. After little more than a year (when he would have studied the regular trivium of grammar
Grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

, rhetoric
Rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...

 and logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

, rather than the later quadrivium
Quadrivium
The quadrivium comprised the four subjects, or arts, taught in medieval universities, after teaching the trivium. The word is Latin, meaning "the four ways" , and its use for the 4 subjects has been attributed to Boethius or Cassiodorus in the 6th century...

 of geometry
Geometry
Geometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers ....

, arithmetic
Arithmetic
Arithmetic or arithmetics is the oldest and most elementary branch of mathematics, used by almost everyone, for tasks ranging from simple day-to-day counting to advanced science and business calculations. It involves the study of quantity, especially as the result of combining numbers...

, music and astronomy
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

/astrology
Astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

), he was forced to leave Avignon when the university closed its doors in the face of an outbreak of the plague
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

. After leaving Avignon, Nostredame (according to his own account) travelled the countryside for eight years from 1521 researching herbal remedies. In 1529, after some years as an apothecary
Apothecary
Apothecary is a historical name for a medical professional who formulates and dispenses materia medica to physicians, surgeons and patients — a role now served by a pharmacist and some caregivers....

, he entered the University of Montpellier
University of Montpellier
The University of Montpellier was a French university in Montpellier in the Languedoc-Roussillon région of the south of France. Its present-day successor universities are the University of Montpellier 1, Montpellier 2 University and Paul Valéry University, Montpellier III.-History:The university...

 to study for a doctorate in medicine. He was expelled shortly afterwards by the university's procurator, Guillaume Rondelet
Guillaume Rondelet
Guillaume Rondelet , known also as Rondeletus , was Regus Professor of medicine at the University of Montpellier in southern France and Chancellor of the University between 1556 and his death in 1566. He achieved renown as an anatomist and a naturalist with a particular interest in botany and zoology...

, when it was discovered that he had been an apothecary, a "manual trade" expressly banned by the university statutes, and had been slandering doctors. The expulsion document (BIU Montpellier, Register S 2 folio 87) still exists in the faculty library. However, some of his publishers and correspondents would later call him "Doctor". After his expulsion, Nostredame continued working, presumably still as an apothecary, and became famous for creating a "rose pill" that supposedly protected against the plague.

Marriage and healing work

In 1531 Nostredame was invited by Jules-César Scaliger
Julius Caesar Scaliger
Julius Caesar Scaliger was an Italian scholar and physician who spent a major part of his career in France. He employed the techniques and discoveries of Renaissance humanism to defend Aristotelianism against the new learning...

, a leading Renaissance scholar
Polymath
A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. In less formal terms, a polymath may simply be someone who is very knowledgeable...

, to come to Agen
Agen
Agen is a commune in the Lot-et-Garonne department in Aquitaine in south-western France. It lies on the river Garonne southeast of Bordeaux. It is the capital of the department.-Economy:The town has a higher level of unemployment than the national average...

. There he married a woman of uncertain name (possibly Henriette d'Encausse), who bore him two children. In 1534 his wife and children died, presumably from the plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

. After their deaths, he continued to travel, passing through France and possibly Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

.
On his return in 1545, he assisted the prominent physician Louis Serre in his fight against a major plague outbreak in Marseille, and then tackled further outbreaks of disease on his own in Salon-de-Provence
Salon-de-Provence
Salon-de-Provence is a commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in southern France. It is the location of an important air base.-History:Salon was a Gallo-Roman oppidum well positioned on the salt trade routes between Adriatic, Atlantic and Mediterranean seas, hence its name...

 and in the regional capital, Aix-en-Provence
Aix-en-Provence
Aix , or Aix-en-Provence to distinguish it from other cities built over hot springs, is a city-commune in southern France, some north of Marseille. It is in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, in the département of Bouches-du-Rhône, of which it is a subprefecture. The population of Aix is...

. Finally, in 1547, he settled in Salon-de-Provence in the house which exists today, where he married a rich widow named Anne Ponsarde, with whom he had six children – three daughters and three sons. Between 1556 and 1567 he and his wife acquired a one-thirteenth share in a huge canal project organized by Adam de Craponne
Adam de Craponne
Adam de Craponne was a French engineer.-Life:Born in 1526 in Salon-de-Provence, between 1557 and 1558, Craponne built the channel bearing his name. The Canal de Craponne enabled irrigation of the desertic Crau with water coming from the Durance...

 to irrigate largely waterless Salon-de-Provence
Salon-de-Provence
Salon-de-Provence is a commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in southern France. It is the location of an important air base.-History:Salon was a Gallo-Roman oppidum well positioned on the salt trade routes between Adriatic, Atlantic and Mediterranean seas, hence its name...

 and the nearby Désert de la Crau
Crau
The Crau is the ancient confluence of the Durance and Rhône, and constitutes their vast flat alluvial fan.-Agriculture:The Crau is composed of two different parts:The dry Crau is in the south, and has been used as pasture from Roman times...

 from the river Durance
Durance
The Durance is a major river in south-eastern France.Its source is in the south-western Alps, in Montgenèvre ski resort near Briançon and it flows south-west through the following départements and cities:* Hautes-Alpes: Briançon, Embrun.* Alpes-de-Haute-Provence: Sisteron, Manosque.* Vaucluse:...

.

Seer

After another visit to Italy, Nostredame began to move away from medicine and toward the occult
Occult
The word occult comes from the Latin word occultus , referring to "knowledge of the hidden". In the medical sense it is used to refer to a structure or process that is hidden, e.g...

. Following popular trends, he wrote an almanac
Almanac
An almanac is an annual publication that includes information such as weather forecasts, farmers' planting dates, and tide tables, containing tabular information in a particular field or fields often arranged according to the calendar etc...

 for 1550, for the first time Latinizing his name from Nostredame to Nostradamus. He was so encouraged by the almanac's success that he decided to write one or more annually. Taken together, they are known to have contained at least 6,338 prophecies, as well as at least eleven annual calendars, all of them starting on 1 January and not, as is sometimes supposed, in March. It was mainly in response to the almanacs that the nobility and other prominent persons from far away soon started asking for horoscopes and "psychic" advice from him, though he generally expected his clients to supply the birth charts on which these would be based, rather than calculating them himself as a professional astrologer would have done. When obliged to attempt this himself on the basis of the published tables of the day, he always made numerous errors, and never adjusted the figures for his clients' place or time of birth. (Refer to the analysis of these charts by Brind'Amour, 1993, and compare Gruber's comprehensive critique of Nostradamus’ horoscope for Crown Prince Rudolph Maximilian.)

He then began his project of writing a book of one thousand mainly French quatrains, which constitute the largely undated prophecies for which he is most famous today. Feeling vulnerable to opposition on religious grounds, however, he devised a method of obscuring his meaning by using "Virgil
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

ianized" syntax, word games and a mixture of other languages such as Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

, Italian, Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, and Provençal
Provençal language
Provençal is a dialect of Occitan spoken by a minority of people in southern France, mostly in Provence. In the English-speaking world, "Provençal" is often used to refer to all dialects of Occitan, but it actually refers specifically to the dialect spoken in Provence."Provençal" is also the...

. For technical reasons connected with their publication in three installments (the publisher of the third and last installment seems to have been unwilling to start it in the middle of a "Century," or book of 100 verses), the last fifty-eight quatrains of the seventh "Century" have not survived into any extant edition.

The quatrains, published in a book titled Les Propheties (The Prophecies), received a mixed reaction when they were published. Some people thought Nostradamus was a servant of evil, a fake, or insane, while many of the elite thought his quatrains were spiritually-inspired prophecies. In the light of their post-Biblical sources (see under Nostradamus' sources below), Nostradamus himself encouraged this belief. Catherine de Médicis, the queen consort of King Henri II of France
Henry II of France
Henry II was King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559.-Early years:Henry was born in the royal Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, the son of Francis I and Claude, Duchess of Brittany .His father was captured at the Battle of Pavia in 1525 by his sworn enemy,...

, was one of Nostradamus' greatest admirers. After reading his almanacs for 1555, which hinted at unnamed threats to the royal family, she summoned him to Paris to explain them and to draw up horoscopes for her children. At the time, he feared that he would be beheaded, but by the time of his death in 1566, Catherine had made him Counselor and Physician-in-Ordinary to her son, the young King Charles IX of France
Charles IX of France
Charles IX was King of France, ruling from 1560 until his death. His reign was dominated by the Wars of Religion. He is best known as king at the time of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.-Childhood:...

.

Some accounts of Nostradamus's life state that he was afraid of being persecuted for heresy
Christian heresy
Christian heresy refers to non-orthodox practices and beliefs that were deemed to be heretical by one or more of the Christian churches. In Western Christianity, the term "heresy" most commonly refers to those beliefs which were declared to be anathema by the Catholic Church prior to the schism of...

 by the Inquisition
Inquisition
The Inquisition, Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis , was the "fight against heretics" by several institutions within the justice-system of the Roman Catholic Church. It started in the 12th century, with the introduction of torture in the persecution of heresy...

, but neither prophecy
Prophecy
Prophecy is a process in which one or more messages that have been communicated to a prophet are then communicated to others. Such messages typically involve divine inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of conditioned events to come as well as testimonies or repeated revelations that the...

 nor astrology
Astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

 fell in this bracket, and he would have been in danger only if he had practiced magic
Magic (paranormal)
Magic is the claimed art of manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult laws unknown to science. It is in contrast to science, in that science does not accept anything not subject to either direct or indirect observation, and subject to logical...

 to support them. In fact, his relationship with the Church was always excellent. His brief imprisonment at Marignane in late 1561 came about purely because he had published his 1562 almanac without the prior permission of a bishop, contrary to a recent royal decree.

Final years and death

By 1566, Nostradamus's gout
Gout
Gout is a medical condition usually characterized by recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis—a red, tender, hot, swollen joint. The metatarsal-phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe is the most commonly affected . However, it may also present as tophi, kidney stones, or urate...

, which had plagued him painfully for many years and made movement very difficult, turned into oedema, or dropsy. In late June he summoned his lawyer to draw up an extensive will bequeathing his property plus 3,444 crowns (around $300,000 US today), minus a few debts, to his wife pending her remarriage, in trust for her sons pending their twenty-fifth birthdays and her daughters pending their marriages. This was followed by a much shorter codicil
Codicil (will)
A codicil is a document that amends, rather than replaces, a previously executed will. Amendments made by a codicil may add or revoke small provisions , or may completely change the majority, or all, of the gifts under the will...

. On the evening of 1 July, he is alleged to have told his secretary Jean de Chavigny, "You will not find me alive at sunrise." The next morning he was reportedly found dead, lying on the floor next to his bed and a bench (Presage 141 [originally 152] for November 1567, as posthumously edited by Chavigny to fit what happened). He was buried in the local Franciscan chapel in Salon (part of it now incorporated into the restaurant La Brocherie) but re-interred during the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 in the Collégiale Saint-Laurent, where his tomb remains to this day.

Works

In The Prophecies he compiled his collection of major, long-term predictions. The first installment was published in 1555. The second, with 289 further prophetic verses, was printed in 1557. The third edition, with three hundred new quatrains, was reportedly printed in 1558, but now only survives as part of the omnibus edition that was published after his death in 1568. This version contains one unrhymed and 941 rhymed quatrain
Quatrain
A quatrain is a stanza, or a complete poem, consisting of four lines of verse. Existing in various forms, the quatrain appears in poems from the poetic traditions of various ancient civilizations including Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and China; and, continues into the 21st century, where it is...

s, grouped into nine sets of 100 and one of 42, called "Centuries".

Given printing practices at the time (which included type-setting from dictation), no two editions turned out to be identical, and it is relatively rare to find even two copies that are exactly the same. Certainly there is no warrant for assuming – as would-be "code-breakers" are prone to do – that either the spellings or the punctuation of any edition are Nostradamus' originals.

The Almanacs: by far the most popular of his works, these were published annually from 1550 until his death. He often published two or three in a year, entitled either Almanachs (detailed predictions), Prognostications or Presages (more generalized predictions).

Nostradamus was not only a diviner, but a professional healer. It is known that he wrote at least two books on medical science. One was an extremely free translation (i.e. a "paraphrase") of The Protreptic of Galen
Galen
Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus , better known as Galen of Pergamon , was a prominent Roman physician, surgeon and philosopher...

 (Paraphrase de C. GALIEN, sus l'Exhortation de Menodote aux estudes des bonnes Artz, mesmement Medicine) , and in his so-called Traité des fardemens
Traité des fardemens
Nostradamus's Traité des fardemens et confitures, variously entitled Moult utile opuscule... and Le vrai et parfaict embellissement de la face..., was first published in 1555, even though it contained a Proem, or prologue, dated 1552...

(basically a medical cookbook containing, once again, materials borrowed mainly from others) he included a description of the methods he used to treat the plague – none of which, not even the bloodletting, apparently worked. The same book also describes the preparation of cosmetics.

A manuscript normally known as the Orus Apollo
Orus Apollo
The Orus Apollo is a manuscript work by Nostradamus written at some point before 1555, and formerly owned by Colbert, Louis XIV's finance minister. It contains two books of 182 verse epigrams. Its full title is ORUS APOLLO FILS DE OSIRIS ROY DE AEGYPTE NILIACQUE...

also exists in the Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

 municipal library, where upwards of 2,000 original documents relating to Nostradamus are stored under the aegis of Michel Chomarat. It is a purported translation of an ancient Greek work on Egyptian hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs were a formal writing system used by the ancient Egyptians that combined logographic and alphabetic elements. Egyptians used cursive hieroglyphs for religious literature on papyrus and wood...

 based on later Latin versions, all of them unfortunately ignorant of the true meanings of the ancient Egyptian script, which was not correctly deciphered until Champollion in the 19th century.

Since his death only the Prophecies have continued to be popular, but in this case they have been quite extraordinarily so. Over two hundred editions of them have appeared in that time, together with over 2,000 commentaries. Their popularity seems to be partly due to the fact that their vagueness and lack of dating make it easy to quote them selectively after every major dramatic event and retrospectively claim them as "hits" (see Nostradamus in popular culture
Nostradamus in popular culture
The prophecies of the 16th century author Nostradamus have become a ubiquitous part of the popular culture of the 20th and 21st centuries. As well as being the subject of hundreds of books , Nostradamus' life has been depicted in several films , and his life and prophecies continue to be a subject...

).

Origins of The Prophecies

Nostradamus claimed to base his published predictions on judicial astrology
Judicial astrology
Judicial astrology is the art of forecasting future events by calculation of the planetary and stellar bodies and their relationship to the Earth...

 – the astrological 'judgement', or assessment, of the 'quality' (and thus potential) of events such as births, weddings, coronations etc. – but was heavily criticized by professional astrologer
Astrologer
An astrologer practices one or more forms of astrology. Typically an astrologer draws a horoscope for the time of an event, such as a person's birth, and interprets celestial points and their placements at the time of the event to better understand someone, determine the auspiciousness of an...

s of the day such as Laurens Videl for incompetence and for assuming that "comparative horoscopy" (the comparison of future planetary configurations with those accompanying known past events) could actually predict what would happen in the future.

Recent research suggests that much of his prophetic work paraphrases collections of ancient end-of-the-world
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

 prophecies (mainly Bible-based), supplemented with references to historical events and anthologies of omen
Omen
An omen is a phenomenon that is believed to foretell the future, often signifying the advent of change...

 reports, and then projects those into the future in part with the aid of comparative horoscopy. Hence the many predictions involving ancient figures such as Sulla, Gaius Marius
Gaius Marius
Gaius Marius was a Roman general and statesman. He was elected consul an unprecedented seven times during his career. He was also noted for his dramatic reforms of Roman armies, authorizing recruitment of landless citizens, eliminating the manipular military formations, and reorganizing the...

, Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

, and others, as well as his descriptions of "battles in the clouds" and "frogs falling from the sky." Astrology itself is mentioned only twice in Nostradamus's Preface and 41 times in the Centuries themselves, but more frequently in his dedicatory Letter to King Henri II
Letter to King Henri II
The famous open Letter to King Henry II of France by Nostradamus is his dedicatory preface to the now-missing 1558 edition of his Propheties, as reprinted in the posthumous 1568 edition by Benoist Rigaud...

. In the last quatrain of his sixth century he specifically attacks astrologers.

His historical sources include easily identifiable passages from Livy
Livy
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

, Suetonius, Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

 and other classical historians, as well as from medieval chroniclers such as Geoffrey of Villehardouin
Geoffrey of Villehardouin
Geoffrey of Villehardouin was a knight and historian who participated in and chronicled the Fourth Crusade...

 and Jean Froissart
Jean Froissart
Jean Froissart , often referred to in English as John Froissart, was one of the most important chroniclers of medieval France. For centuries, Froissart's Chronicles have been recognized as the chief expression of the chivalric revival of the 14th century Kingdom of England and France...

. Many of his astrological references are taken almost word for word from Richard Roussat's of 1549–50.

One of his major prophetic sources was evidently the Mirabilis Liber
Mirabilis Liber
The Mirabilis liber is an anonymous and formerly very popular compilation of predictions by various Christian saints and divines that was published in France in 1522 The Mirabilis liber (Mirabilis liber qui prophetias revelationesque, necnon res mirandas, preteritas, presentes et futuras, aperte...

of 1522, which contained a range of prophecies by Pseudo-Methodius
Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius
The Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius is a 7th-century apocalypse that shaped the eschatological imagination of Christendom throughout the Middle Ages. The work was written in Syriac in the late 7th century, in reaction to the Islamic conquest of the Near East, and is falsely attributed to the...

, the Tiburtine Sibyl
Tiburtine Sibyl
The Tiburtine Sibyl was a Roman sibyl, whose seat was the ancient Etruscan town of Tibur .The mythic meeting of Cæsar Augustus with the Sibyl, of whom he inquired whether he should be worshiped as a god, was a favored motif of Christian artists. Whether the sibyl in question was the Etruscan Sibyl...

, Joachim of Fiore
Joachim of Fiore
Joachim of Fiore, also known as Joachim of Flora and in Italian Gioacchino da Fiore , was the founder of the monastic order of San Giovanni in Fiore . He was a mystic, a theologian and an esoterist...

, Savonarola and others (his Preface contains 24 biblical quotations, all but two in the order used by Savonarola). This book had enjoyed considerable success in the 1520s, when it went through half a dozen editions (see External links below for facsimiles and translations) but did not sustain its influence, perhaps owing to its mostly Latin text, Gothic script and many difficult abbreviations. Nostradamus was one of the first to re-paraphrase these prophecies in French, which may explain why they are credited to him. It should be noted that modern views of plagiarism did not apply in the 16th century. Authors frequently copied and paraphrased passages without acknowledgement, especially from the classics.The latest research suggests that he may in fact have used bibliomancy
Bibliomancy
Bibliomancy is the use of books in divination. The method of employing sacred books for 'magical medicine', for removing negative entities, or for divination is widespread in many religions of the world:-Terminology:...

 for this—randomly selecting a book of history or prophecy and taking his cue from whatever page it happened to fall open at.

Further material was gleaned from the De honesta disciplina of 1504 by Petrus Crinitus, which included extracts from Michael Psellos
Michael Psellos
Michael Psellos or Psellus was a Byzantine monk, writer, philosopher, politician and historian...

's De daemonibus, and the De Mysteriis Aegyptiorum
De Mysteriis Aegyptiorum
The Theurgia, or De Mysteriis Aegyptiorum , was attributed to Iamblichus Chalcidensis, a Neoplatonic philosopher who studied under Porphyry....

(Concerning the mysteries of Egypt...), a book on Chaldea
Chaldea
Chaldea or Chaldaea , from Greek , Chaldaia; Akkadian ; Hebrew כשדים, Kaśdim; Aramaic: ܟܐܠܕܘ, Kaldo) was a marshy land located in modern-day southern Iraq which came to briefly rule Babylon...

n and Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n magic by Iamblichus, a 4th century Neo-Platonist
Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism , is the modern term for a school of religious and mystical philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century AD, based on the teachings of Plato and earlier Platonists, with its earliest contributor believed to be Plotinus, and his teacher Ammonius Saccas...

. Latin versions of both had recently been published in Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

, and extracts from both are paraphrased (in the second case almost literally) in his first two verses, the first of which is appended to this article. While it is true that Nostradamus claimed in 1555 to have burned all of the occult works in his library, no one can say exactly what books were destroyed in this fire. The fact that they reportedly burned with an unnaturally brilliant flame suggests, however, that some of them were manuscripts on vellum
Vellum
Vellum is mammal skin prepared for writing or printing on, to produce single pages, scrolls, codices or books. It is generally smooth and durable, although there are great variations depending on preparation, the quality of the skin and the type of animal used...

, which was routinely treated with saltpeter
Potassium nitrate
Potassium nitrate is a chemical compound with the formula KNO3. It is an ionic salt of potassium ions K+ and nitrate ions NO3−.It occurs as a mineral niter and is a natural solid source of nitrogen. Its common names include saltpetre , from medieval Latin sal petræ: "stone salt" or possibly "Salt...

.

Only in the 17th century did people start to notice his reliance on earlier, mainly classical sources. This may help explain the fact that, during the same period, The Prophecies reportedly came into use in France as a classroom reader.

Nostradamus's reliance on historical precedent is reflected in the fact that he explicitly rejected the label prophet (i.e. a person having prophetic powers of his own) on several occasions:

Although, my son, I have used the word prophet, I would not attribute to myself a title of such lofty sublimity – Preface to César, 1555 (see caption to illustration above)


Not that I would attribute to myself either the name or the role of a prophet – Preface to César, 1555


[S]ome of [the prophets] predicted great and marvelous things to come: [though] for me, I in no way attribute to myself such a title here. – Letter to King Henri II, 1558


I do but make bold to predict (not that I guarantee the slightest thing at all), thanks to my researches and the consideration of what judicial Astrology promises me and sometimes gives me to know, principally in the form of warnings, so that folk may know that with which the celestial stars do threaten them. Not that I am foolish enough to pretend to be a prophet. – Open letter to Privy Councillor (later Chancellor) Birague, 15 June 1566


His rejection of the title prophet is consistent with the fact that he entitled his book

(a title that, in French
Middle French
Middle French is a historical division of the French language that covers the period from 1340 to 1611. It is a period of transition during which:...

, as easily means "The Prophecies, by M. Michel Nostradamus" – which is what they were – as "The Prophecies of M. Michel Nostradamus", which, except in a few cases, they were not, other than in the manner of their editing, expression and reapplication to the future).

Given this reliance on literary sources, it is doubtful whether Nostradamus used any particular methods for entering a trance state
Altered state of consciousness
An altered state of consciousness , also named altered state of mind, is any condition which is significantly different from a normal waking beta wave state. The expression was used as early as 1966 by Arnold M. Ludwig and brought into common usage from 1969 by Charles Tart: it describes induced...

, other than contemplation
Contemplation
The word contemplation comes from the Latin word contemplatio. Its root is also that of the Latin word templum, a piece of ground consecrated for the taking of auspices, or a building for worship, derived either from Proto-Indo-European base *tem- "to cut", and so a "place reserved or cut out" or...

, meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

 and incubation
Incubation (ritual)
Incubation is the religious practice of sleeping in a sacred area with the intention of experiencing a divinely inspired dream or cure. Incubation was practised by many ancient cultures...

. His sole description of this process is contained in letter 41 of his collected Latin correspondence. The popular legend that he attempted the ancient methods of flame gazing, water gazing or both simultaneously is based on a naive reading of his first two verses, which merely liken his efforts to those of the Delphic and Branchidic
Didyma
Didyma was an ancient Ionian sanctuary, the modern Didim, Turkey, containing a temple and oracle of Apollo, the Didymaion. In Greek didyma means "twin", but the Greeks who sought a "twin" at Didyma ignored the Carian origin of the name...

 oracle
Oracle
In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods. As such it is a form of divination....

s. The first of these is reproduced at the bottom of this article and the second can be seen by visiting the relevant facsimile site (see External Links). In his dedication to King Henri II, Nostradamus describes "emptying my soul, mind and heart of all care, worry and unease through mental calm and tranquility", but his frequent references to the "bronze tripod" of the Delphi
Delphi
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

c rite are usually preceded by the words "as though" (compare, once again, External References to the original texts).

Interpretations

Most of the quatrains deal with disasters, such as plagues, earthquakes, wars, floods, invasions, murders, droughts, and battles – all undated and based on foreshadowings by the Mirabilis Liber
Mirabilis Liber
The Mirabilis liber is an anonymous and formerly very popular compilation of predictions by various Christian saints and divines that was published in France in 1522 The Mirabilis liber (Mirabilis liber qui prophetias revelationesque, necnon res mirandas, preteritas, presentes et futuras, aperte...

. Some quatrains cover these disasters in overall terms; others concern a single person or small group of people. Some cover a single town, others several towns in several countries. A major, underlying theme is an impending invasion of Europe by Muslim forces from further east and south headed by the expected Antichrist
Antichrist
The term or title antichrist, in Christian theology, refers to a leader who fulfills Biblical prophecies concerning an adversary of Christ, while resembling him in a deceptive manner...

, directly reflecting the then-current Ottoman invasions and the earlier Saracen
Saracen
Saracen was a term used by the ancient Romans to refer to a people who lived in desert areas in and around the Roman province of Arabia, and who were distinguished from Arabs. In Europe during the Middle Ages the term was expanded to include Arabs, and then all who professed the religion of Islam...

 (that is, Arab) equivalents, as well as the prior expectations of the Mirabilis Liber. All of this is presented in the context of the supposedly imminent end of the world – even though this is not in fact mentioned – a conviction that sparked numerous collections of end-time prophecies
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

 at the time, not least an unpublished collection by Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

.

Nostradamus enthusiasts have credited him with predicting numerous events in world history, from the Great Fire of London
Great Fire of London
The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of the English city of London, from Sunday, 2 September to Wednesday, 5 September 1666. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman City Wall...

, and the rise of Napoleon and Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, to the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

, but only ever in hindsight. Skeptics such as James Randi
James Randi
James Randi is a Canadian-American stage magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation...

 suggest that his reputation as a prophet is largely manufactured by modern-day supporters who fit his words to events that have either already occurred or are so imminent as to be inevitable, a process sometimes known as "retroactive clairvoyance" (postdiction
Postdiction
According to critics of paranormal beliefs, postdiction is an effect of hindsight bias that explains claimed predictions of significant events, such as plane crashes and natural disasters...

). There is no evidence in the academic literature to suggest that any Nostradamus quatrain has ever been interpreted as predicting a specific event before it occurred, other than in vague, general terms that could equally apply to any number of other events. In particular, no quatrain suggests, as is often claimed by books and films on the alleged Mayan Prophecy
2012 phenomenon
The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs that cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on December 21, 2012. This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar...

, that the world will end in December 2012.

Alternative views

A range of quite different views are expressed in printed literature and on the Internet. At one end of the spectrum, there are extreme academic views such as those of Jacques Halbronn, suggesting at great length and with great complexity that Nostradamus's Prophecies are antedated forgeries written by later hands with a political axe to grind. Most other specialists in the field reject this view.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are numerous fairly recent popular books, and thousands of private websites, suggesting not only that the Prophecies are genuine but that Nostradamus was a true prophet. Due to the subjective nature of these interpretations, however, no two of them agree on exactly what he predicted, whether for the past or for the future. Many of these do agree, though, that particular predictions refer, for example, to the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, Napoleon, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, both world war
World war
A world war is a war affecting the majority of the world's most powerful and populous nations. World wars span multiple countries on multiple continents, with battles fought in multiple theaters....

s, and the nuclear destruction
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.For six months...

 of Hiroshima
Hiroshima
is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. It became best known as the first city in history to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on it at 8:15 A.M...

 and Nagasaki. There is also an evident consensus among popular authors that he predicted whatever major event had just happened at the time of each book's publication, from the Apollo moon landings, through the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, and the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida at 11:38 am EST...

 in 1986, to the events of 9/11
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

: this 'movable feast' aspect appears to be characteristic of the genre.

Possibly the first of these books to become popular in English was Henry C. Roberts' The Complete Prophecies of Nostradamus of 1947, reprinted at least seven times during the next forty years, which contained both transcriptions and translations, with brief commentaries. This was followed in 1961 (reprinted in 1982) by Edgar Leoni's Nostradamus and His Prophecies. After that came Erika Cheetham
Erika Cheetham
Erika Cheetham was an English medieval scholar best known for her controversial interpretations of Nostradamus' writings.-Early life:...

's The Prophecies of Nostradamus, incorporating a reprint of the posthumous 1568 edition, which was reprinted, revised and republished several times from 1973 onwards, latterly as The Final Prophecies of Nostradamus. This served as the basis for the documentary The Man Who Saw Tomorrow
The Man Who Saw Tomorrow
The Man Who Saw Tomorrow is a 1981 documentary-style movie about the predictions of French astrologer and physician Michel de Notredame .The Man Who Saw Tomorrow is narrated by Orson Welles....

. and both did indeed mention possible generalised future attacks on New York, though not specifically on the World Trade Centre or on any particular date. A two-part translation of Jean-Charles de Fontbrune's Nostradamus: historien et prophète was published in 1980, and John Hogue has published a number of books on Nostradamus from about 1994 onwards, including Nostradamus: The Complete Prophecies (1999) and Nostradamus: A Life and Myth (2003).

With the exception of Roberts, these books and their many popular imitators were almost unanimous not merely about Nostradamus's powers of prophecy, but also about various aspects of his biography. He had been a descendant of the Israelite tribe of Issachar
Issachar
Issachar/Yissachar was, according to the Book of Genesis, a son of Jacob and Leah , and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Issachar; however some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite...

; he had been educated by his grandfathers, who had both been physicians to the court of Good King René
René I of Naples
René of Anjou , also known as René I of Naples and Good King René , was Duke of Anjou, Count of Provence , Count of Piedmont, Duke of Bar , Duke of Lorraine , King of Naples , titular King of Jerusalem...

 of Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

; he had attended Montpellier
Montpellier
-Neighbourhoods:Since 2001, Montpellier has been divided into seven official neighbourhoods, themselves divided into sub-neighbourhoods. Each of them possesses a neighbourhood council....

 University in 1525 to gain his first degree: after returning there in 1529 he had successfully taken his medical doctorate; he had gone on to lecture in the Medical Faculty there until his views became too unpopular; he had supported the heliocentric view of the universe; he had travelled to the north-east of France, where he had composed prophecies at the abbey of Orval; in the course of his travels he had performed a variety of prodigies, including identifying a future Pope; he had successfully cured the Plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

 at Aix-en-Provence
Aix-en-Provence
Aix , or Aix-en-Provence to distinguish it from other cities built over hot springs, is a city-commune in southern France, some north of Marseille. It is in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, in the département of Bouches-du-Rhône, of which it is a subprefecture. The population of Aix is...

 and elsewhere; he had engaged in scrying
Scrying
Scrying is a magic practice that involves seeing things psychically in a medium, usually for purposes of obtaining spiritual visions and less often for purposes of divination or fortune-telling. The most common media used are reflective, translucent, or luminescent substances such as crystals,...

 using either a magic mirror or a bowl of water; he had been joined by his secretary Chavigny at Easter 1554; having published the first installment of his Propheties, he had been summoned by Queen Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman who was Queen consort of France from 1547 until 1559, as the wife of King Henry II of France....

 to Paris in 1556 to discuss with her his prophecy at quatrain I.35 that her husband King Henri II would be killed in a duel; he had examined the royal children at Blois
Blois
Blois is the capital of Loir-et-Cher department in central France, situated on the banks of the lower river Loire between Orléans and Tours.-History:...

; he had bequeathed to his son a 'lost book' of his own prophetic paintings; he had been buried standing up; and he had been found, when dug up at the French Revolution, to be wearing a medallion bearing the exact date of his disinterment.

Curiously, this particular story seems to have been first recorded by Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys FRS, MP, JP, was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man...

 as early as 1667, long before the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. Pepys records in his celebrated diary a legend that, before his death, Nostradamus made the townsfolk swear that his grave would never be disturbed; but that 60 years later his body was exhumed, whereupon a brass plaque was found on his chest correctly stating the date and time when his grave would be opened and cursing the exhumers.

From the 1980s onwards, however, an academic reaction set in, especially in France. The publication in 1983 of Nostradamus's private correspondence and, during succeeding years, of the original editions of 1555 and 1557 discovered by Chomarat and Benazra, together with the unearthing of much original archival material revealed that much that was claimed about Nostradamus did not fit the documented facts. The academics revealed that not one of the claims just listed was backed up by any known contemporary documentary evidence. Most of them had evidently been based on unsourced rumours relayed as fact by much later commentators, such as Jaubert (1656), Guynaud (1693) and Bareste (1840), on modern misunderstandings of the 16th century French texts, or on pure invention. Even the often-advanced suggestion that quatrain I.35 had successfully prophesied King Henri II's death did not actually appear in print for the first time until 1614, 55 years after the event.

Additionally, the academics, who themselves tend to eschew any attempt at interpretation, complained that the English translations were usually of poor quality, seemed to display little or no knowledge of 16th-century French, were tendentious and, at worst, were sometimes twisted to fit the events to which they were supposed to refer (or vice versa). None of them were based on the original editions: Roberts had based his writings on that of 1672, Cheetham and Hogue on the posthumous edition of 1568. Even Leoni accepted on page 115 that he had never seen an original edition, and on earlier pages he indicated that much of his biographical material was unsourced.

However, none of this research and criticism was originally known to most of the English-language commentators, by function of the dates when they were writing and, to some extent, of the language in which it was written. Hogue was in a position to take advantage of it, but it was only in 2003 that he accepted that some of his earlier biographical material had in fact been apocryphal. Meanwhile some of the more recent sources listed (Lemesurier, Gruber, Wilson) have been particularly scathing about later attempts by some lesser-known authors and Internet enthusiasts to extract alleged hidden meanings from the texts, whether with the aid of anagrams, numerical codes, graphs or otherwise.

Popular culture

The prophecies retold and expanded by Nostradamus have figured largely in popular culture
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

 in the 20th and 21st centuries. As well as being the subject of hundreds of books (both fiction and nonfiction), Nostradamus's life has been depicted in several films and videos, and his life and writings continue to be a subject of media interest.

There have also been several well-known internet hoax
Hoax
A hoax is a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, or rumors, urban legends, pseudosciences or April Fools' Day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.-Definition:The British...

es, where quatrains in the style of Nostradamus have been circulated by e-mail as the real thing. The best-known examples concern the collapse of the World Trade Center in the September 11 attacks, which led both to hoaxes and to reinterpretations by enthusiasts of several quatrains as supposed prophecies.

See also

  • For comparison with another predictive protoscience
    Protoscience
    In the philosophy of science, a protoscience is an area of scientific endeavor that is in the process of becoming established. Protoscience is distinguished from pseudoscience by its standard practices of good science, such as a willingness to be disproven by new evidence, or to be replaced by a...

     see Alchemy
    Alchemy
    Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base...

    .
  • Divination
    Divination
    Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic standardized process or ritual...

  • List of astrologers
  • Mysticism
    Mysticism
    Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

  • Roger Frontenac
    Roger Frontenac
    Roger Frontenac was a French navy officer and a scholar of Nostradamus' prophecies. He proposed an interpretation system for the text of Les Propheties, based upon a form of cryptography known as the Vigenère table.- Biography :...

  • Vaticinia Nostradami
    Vaticinia Nostradami
    The Vaticinia Michaelis Nostradami de Futuri Christi Vicarii ad Cesarem Filium D. I. A. Interprete , or Vaticinia Nostradami for short, is a collection of eighty watercolor images compiled as an illustrated codex...



External links

The following websites are or aim to be factual, and consistent with the article, rather than speculative or fictional in character.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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