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Man has always tried to look into the future. People who could predict it always aroused interest. It is no coincidence that next to the rulers there were regularly those who tried to foresee future events and suggest the right actions to their patron. The most famous predictor in history is Nostradamus.
It is believed that he told about the events that will happen 400 years or more after his death. True, his centuries turned out to be rather vague, and their secret lies in the interpretation. Michel de Nostrdam was born in 1503 in the French town of Saint-Remy. In his youth, the future fortuneteller traveled a lot, and then received a doctorate at the University of Montpellier.
The doctor took up astrology in the late 1540s, then magic was considered an important part of science. Nostradamus's predictive almanacs on current political events have piqued the interest of royalty. The famous fortuneteller died in 1566, having achieved not only wealth, but also envy with the intrigues of enemies.
Even today, the personality of Nostradamus is of interest. Let's try to find out better the biography of the legendary predictor, weeding out the most popular misconceptions about him.
Nostradamus was a Jew, but eventually converted to Christianity. Nostradamus is considered to come from a family of French Jewish crossings. Michel's father had Jewish roots. His grandfather, Pierre Nostrdam, became a Christian about forty years before the future fortuneteller was born.
Nostradamus inherited his gift of divination from the Israeli tribe of Issachar. The fortuneteller himself always claimed that he received his gift from his mother, not his father. Consequently, Jewish roots did not in any way affect the unique talent of Nostradamus.
Long before Copernicus, Nostradamus came to the conclusion that the planets revolve around the sun. This myth idealizes the medieval scientist, but there is no evidence for such views of Nostradamus.
Nostradamus was taught by his grandfathers, who were honored doctors at the Provencal court. Michel's grandfathers were not outstanding scientists and did not leave a significant trace in science. The story of their influence was invented by the fortuneteller's son, Cesar. So he was presented with the history of the family. But a hundred years have passed since then. Father's grandfather, Pierre, was a merchant in Avignon. Judging by the lack of information about him, there is no need to talk about prosperity, wealth and success. Another grandfather, René de Saint-Remy, seems to have died even before Michel was born. And his education was (and even then, not a fact) great-grandfather on the mother's side - Jean de Saint-Remy. He was actually a doctor, however, at a local level. In addition, he also combined his work with the position of city treasurer.
At the age of 18, Nostradamus went to Montpellier to study medicine. In his work "Traité des fardemens et confitures" the scientist said that he spent his youth, in 1521-1529, wandering around the country and learning how to prepare potions and medicines. There are no records of Nostradamus's stay in Montpellier at this time. He appeared in archival records as early as 1529, as a pharmacist. But Michel was quickly kicked out of the profession due to poor customer reviews. The written works of Nostradamus of that time, as well as a record of the ill-fated exile, have survived.
Nostradamus was educated as a doctor. And although later circumstantial evidence suggests that Nostradamus studied to be a doctor, no official records have remained on this score.
Nostradamus had a doctorate qualification, once he taught at the faculty of the University of Montpellier. There is also no evidence of the period of Nostradamus teaching in this venerable educational institution. Interestingly, there is a record of Michel's appearance in 1531 in Agen. This is in no way consistent with the story of teaching at the same time in Montpellier.
The first wife of Nostradamus was Adriette de Lobeyak in Agen. The personal life of the fortuneteller in those years was not particularly in sight, which gave rise to a series of rumors. Henrietta d'Encausse became the first wife of Nostradamus. And Adriette de Lobeiak was the wife of the scientist Jules Cesar Scaliger, with whom the young pharmacist became close in those years.
The wife of Nostradamus and his two children died of the plague. In 1538, serious changes took place in the life of Nostradamus. Not only was the Inquisition interested in him, his wife and two children also died. But the circumstances of their death remain unknown. Plague is only one of the most likely versions.
Nostradamus was persecuted by the Inquisition. We are talking about an invitation to the Inquisitor of Toulouse all in the same year 1538. Michel was asked to explain his statements four years ago. He allegedly compared the bronze statue of the Virgin Mary with the devil. But about this meeting and its consequences, again, no evidence remained. And the prophecies of Nostradamus, it seems, were not particularly interested in the Inquisition. In any case, the church did not persecute him for this activity. With her, Nostradamus generally had a good relationship.
Nostradamus's books were banned by the Vatican. In the Encyclopedia Britannica, you can find the statement that in 1781 the works of Nostradamus were included in the Vatican Banned Books Index. But in this respectable edition was mistaken. None of the editions of this Index mentions the prophet's name. Moreover, research carried out in the Municipal Library of Lyon showed that in 1781 the Index was not published at all. As already mentioned, Nostradamus had a good relationship with the church. In his Almanac of 1562, he even placed an open letter to the Pope.
Magic activity was hidden behind the religiosity of Nostradamus. For Michel, religiosity was not just a screen for magical experiments. Nostradamus was a true Catholic, devout and devoted to the Church. He sympathized with the Franciscans. After the death of Nostradamus, his secretary even made a statement, recognizing the scientist's fidelity to the rites of the Church, religion and salvation through it. Michel openly criticized all those who renounced faith in favor of alien doctrines. Nostradamus promised them a terrible end. It is no secret that the scientist openly gave money to the Franciscan monks, was friends with the Archbishop of Arles, and talked in Paris with the Archbishop of Sence. Various priests resorted to the services of Nostradamus the doctor. He bequeathed part of his inheritance to two monasteries, and asked to bury himself in a Franciscan chapel. Michel's religiousness was passed on to his son, who went to a monastery. And the incompatibility of religion and magic at that time was conditional. During the Renaissance, thinkers were still faced with the problem of reconciling pagan practices with established Christian views.
Nostradamus learned to heal the plague. Speaking about success, it is worth identifying its criteria. The doctor really in this field has earned himself both a reputation and a fortune. But Nostradamus himself admitted that during the outbreak of the plague in Aix-en-Provence, none of his methods of treatment were successful.
Nostradamus used advanced methods to treat the plague. They write that the doctor treated with advanced antiseptics, forced his patients to exercise and recommended that they follow a diet. He refused to bleed the sick. In his work "Traité" Nostradamus admitted that he tried to bleed patients, but it simply did not help. And the famous "pink pills", whose recipe is written in the book, were used only for prevention purposes. Most likely, the methods of Nostradamus were no different from the traditional ones. It can be noted, perhaps, more attention of the doctor to running water. So he improved public hygiene.
In 1542 Nostradamus wrote The Predictions of Orval. At one time, the authorship of these prophecies was attributed to Nostradamus, wishing to give them significance. Predictions from the famous Frenchman sold trite better. But the language and style of the text obviously do not relate to the time of the fortuneteller's life, but to the time of Napoleon. And the prophecies concerned just the French emperor himself. It is no coincidence that he carried these predictions with him, believing them. The town of Orval in Belgium in 1542 was located just in the war zone between France and the Holy Roman Empire. It seems unlikely that Nostradamus was there at that time.
In one Italian monk, Nostradamus saw the future Pope. According to this legend, while in Italy, Nostradamus suddenly knelt in front of a young monk, calling him "Your Holiness." According to another version, it was a swineherd. This act of Nostradamus surprised everyone, but after his death everything became clear. The young man's name was Felice Peretti, and in 1585 he became Pope. The legend is beautiful, but again it is worth saying that there is no documentary evidence of it.
Upon his return to Salon de Provence, Nostradamus began work on the Centuries. The first cookbook was "Traité des fardemens et des confitures". After her, Michel began to create Almanacs, which he continued to work on until the end of his life. These works brought him fame and sold out much better than later predictions.
Nostradamus's weather and harvest predictions were amazingly accurate. More often than not, the predictor was wrong. Sometimes this even led to unpleasant consequences for those who believed the famous scientist.
Since people bought books of predictions, then they were correct. People tend to believe in miracles. Even after being burned once, they continue to believe that the next prediction will certainly be accurate.
The main prophecies of Nostradamus were called "Centurias". Centurias are called an uninteresting collective description of a dozen books from a hundred verses. And the main work was called proudly - "The Prophecies of Michel Nostradamus".
A bowl of water and a magic mirror helped Nostradamus predict. None of the fortuneteller's contemporaries mentioned such a technique of his work. In the first two verses of Nostradamus, a bowl of water is mentioned, but it was needed to lower the legs and edges of the clothes there, as the Greek oracles did. So Nostradamus entered the image. It is likely that the bowl may have contained flavored water that exuded pleasant aromas. The mirror also appears in Michel's statement in an indirect way. He claimed that his visions appear as if from a curved reflective surface that collects the rays of the sun. Anyone who has caught them in their mirror understands what this is about.
Nostradamus used magic spells. Nostradamus himself made it clear that in his work he used occult techniques and magic spells. But no one can say this for sure. But it is known that the fortuneteller liked to boast. In those days, the use of magical techniques inspired respect.
Nostradamus was an excellent astrologer. It is now clear that Nostradamus was a bad astrologer. Even his professional contemporaries have repeatedly pointed to this. And the surviving horoscopes have numerous inaccuracies. Nostradamus designated the planets incorrectly, and the Sun could be placed simultaneously in two different parts of the sky. This "astrologer" preferred not to put numbers into his printed tables. For such an amateurish approach, astrologers-contemporaries did not perceive Nostradamus as their colleague, contemptuously calling him "an amateur". And he himself avoided them, believing that his actions were controlled by God himself.
Nostradamus believed that he was not wrong. In his letter to King Henry II, Nostradamus wrote that he worked thanks to divine inspiration. It came through the planets, Archangel Michael, directly or through the spirit. This determined the infallibility of Michel's predictions. But in his epistle to the Canons of Orange on February 4, 1562, Nostradamus already estimates his predictions more modestly. He wrote that he could well be wrong, being a mere mortal. This casts doubt on the fact that a divine spirit visited him.
The prophecies of Nostradamus were encrypted. Nostradamus designed his prophecies in the form of a rhyming verse. For connoisseurs of French poetry of the 16th century, such a syllable seems common, there is no cipher in it. Today it may seem that these are not poetry at all. All theories about the messages encrypted in the words of Nostradamus have not received proper confirmation.
In the poems of Nostradamus, Latin and Greek words are used for a specific purpose. In those days, the use of words from classical languages in literary works was generally accepted. Only an educated person could understand the true meaning of these words, as well as references to classic stories from history or mythology. Nostradamus took this technique to the extreme, wanting to join the circle of the elite, to demonstrate the elitism of his work.
You can understand the records of Nostradamus using a regular dictionary. Even modern French texts cannot be translated like that. And even more so, such a primitive direct approach will not work with the texts of the Middle Ages. We must remember that Nostradamus did not write an official news bulletin, but wrote poems. And he certainly did not think about translating them into a foreign language.
In 1556, Nostradamus went to Paris to meet with the king and queen. This fact requires clarification. A significant meeting took place, but a year earlier, immediately after the publication of the first book of Nostradamus. This is what the correspondence of those years indicates.
Nostradamus rode to Paris in a carriage as an important person. Michel went to a meeting with the king on horseback. They were provided by the Royal Mail. The carriages were not yet practically used, since there were simply no normal roads. Even the queen had to get to her place not in a carriage, but in a palanquin.
The queen asked Nostradamus about the meaning of verse I.35 about the impending death in the king's tournament. What these persons talked about almost 500 years ago is unknown. These are the writers Cheatham and Hough, as well as the director Orson Welles in their works about Nostradamus, could have assumed anything. But these works are mostly extremely inaccurate, many historical facts are not taken into account. Biographers built the biography of Nostradamus on the basis of incomprehensible rumors that were widespread in the 19th century, and did not bother to work with the archives.
In the almanac "Presage 141" Nostradamus predicted his own death. This version is unlikely. The myth came about thanks to Nostradamus's secretary, Chavigny. It was he who laid the foundation for the tradition of freely interpreting the predictions of the scientist. In the same almanac, we are talking about November 1567, and death came to Nostradamus in July 1566. So even if it really was about his own death, then Michel predicted the date incorrectly.
Nostradamus was specially buried so that people could not walk on his grave. There is a legend that Nostradamus bequeathed to bury himself in an upright position in the wall of a Franciscan temple. Such an unusual whim is explained by the scientist's desire to finally take revenge on his numerous ill-wishers and prevent them from setting foot on his grave. However, this legend is also not confirmed by anything, in the will of Nostradamus, such a wish was not found. During the second reburial, the slab from the old grave was attached to the wall.
During the exhumation of Nostradamus during the French Revolution, a medallion was found on his neck indicating the exact date of the removal of the body. This is another myth, designed to give the image of the predictor more mysticism. But such an urban legend has no basis.In 1791, the Marseilles revolutionaries broke the tomb of Nostradamus and outraged his remains. But the circumstances of the excavation remained unknown.