Biography of Nostradamus


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Michel de Nostredame (Michael of Our Lady), whose latinized name was Nostradamus, was born on December 14th, 1503, 11 years after Christopher Columbus discovered the New World. Nostradamus' home town of St. Remy de Provence, was located in France. His family, of Jewish decent, converted from Judaism to Catholicism when Nostradamus was still a young boy.

Some historians suggest that Nostradamus was a descendent of the lost Jewish tribe of Issacher, a tribe that was noted to be knowledgeable in astrology and the mystical arts.

As a child, Nostradamus was apparently influenced by occult Jewish literature. Nostradamus' ancestors on his mother's side were men skilled in mathematics and medicine. His father, James, was a notary.

Nostradamus' great-grandfather inspired him to study astrology and the celestial sciences when he was very young. It was then that Nostradamus was introduced to Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Later he was sent to Avignon, France, to study medicine.

In 1522, at the age of nineteen, Nostradamus decided to study medicine and enrolled at Mont Pellier (the most famous school of medicine in France). He graduated with a bachelor degree and was soon licensed to practice medicine. As a healer, he was active in treating the victims of the "Black Plague" and developed unique and effective methods of treatment which helped to lessen the suffering of many people. At 26, Nostradamus returned to Mont Pellier to obtain his Doctor's degree. The academic skill he displayed while working towards his doctorate won him praise and admiration from the whole college. He was recruited as an instructor after his graduation and taught for about a year. Upon leaving Mont Pellier, Nostradamus passed through Agen while returning to Toulouse and married a young woman. It was at this time Nostradamus is believed to have been reintroduced to mystical and ancient books of knowledge.

Sadly, both Nostradamus' wife and their two children were struck by disease and died. As if to add insult to injury, in 1538 Nostradamus was falsely accused of heresy by Church officials, due to an innocent comment he made one day about a church statue. This was unjust because Nostradamus was a spiritual and religious man.

One misconception led to another, and the infamous agents of the Spanish Inquisition (the repressive European religious establishment of that era) sought his arrest. Wishing to avert the wrath of tainted religious extremists, Nostradamus left his home in France and wandered through Italy, avoiding arrest by the Inquisitors. Nostradamus did as he wished during this period traveling, making new friends, and constructing astrological charts for people.

Over time, circumstances reversed with the Inquisitors. And after traveling through Italy and France for six years, Nostradamus returned to his native turf where he was employed by the city of Aix in 1546.
For a period of three years he again fought the plague.

His services were viewed as invaluable by both his patients and his peers. Nostradamus later moved to Salon de Croux, married for a second time, and started a new family. It was during this period of his life that he acquainted himself with the apothecaries and healers of the area in order to include them in his book "Traite des Fardmens", the world's first medical directory, which listed the names, location and specialties of physicians and healers practicing in Europe. By 1555 Nostradamus had finished the first phase of his book that would contain his prophecies.

Upon its publication, Nostradamus' fame quickly spread throughout Europe. This first version of his prophecies contained over 300 predictions. His book became very popular among the literate and educated Europeans of the day, so much so that the French Queen, Catherine de' Medici, summoned Nostradamus to her court in Paris.

He and the Queen became close personal friends, and they discussed his quatrain predicting the death of her husband -- King Henri II of France. It was during that era that Nostradamus was appointed as the personal physician and royal advisor to Henry II. Later, he also advised the French Kings Francis II and Charles IX.

Nostradamus was called to Paris by the Queen a second time and was asked to draw astrological horoscopes for the royal children.

In 1557, when he was told that the Justices of Paris were again asking about his magical practices, he hurriedly returned to Salon.

On June 28, 1559, quatrain # 1-35 which predicted the accidental death of an "old lion" (an allusion to Henri -- the King of France) came true. Some people were upset with Nostradamus, others amazed. His fame grew even more. Nostradamus remained in Salon for a number of years, and continued to work on his writings. He was visited by many people of nobility and distinction during those days.

In 1565-66, Nostradamus' health began to be troubled with gout and arthritis. His health continued to worsen and he wrote his will on June 17, 1566. On July 1st, Nostradamus sent for the local Catholic priest and requested that his last rites be administered to him, telling his close friend Chavigny that he would not live to see the next day.

As Nostradamus prophesied, he was found dead in the morning, and was buried in one of the walls of the Church of the Cordeliers, in Salon.

After the incident with the revolutionary soldiers described in the Introduction, the old prophet's remains were reburied at the Church of St. Laurent in Salon, France. In the words of James Chavingy, his friend and understudy, Michel Nostradamus was described as a good man.

    "He was a little under medium height,
    of robust body, nimble and vigorous.
    He had a large and open forehead,
    a straight and even nose,
    gray eyes which were generally pleasant,
    but which blazed when he was angry.

    By nature he was taciturn, thinking much and saying little,though speaking very well in the proper time and place. He slept only four to five hours per night. He praised and loved freedom of speech, and showed himself joyous and facetious,as well as biting, in his joking.

    He approved of the ceremonies of the Roman Church and held to the Catholic faith and religion.

    I do not want to forget to say that he engaged willingly in fasts, prayers, alms,and patience; he abhorred vice and chastised it severely.

    I can remember his giving to the poor, towards whom he was very liberal and charitable."

After his death, his son Caesar gathered the remaining prophecies which had been unpublished up to that point, and published them in 1568, two years after Nostradamus passed away.

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