numerous stories circulate. Some of them are legends, in which
Nostradamus is described as a clairvoyant and a man who performs miracles. In
other stories, it is told that Nostradamus got acquainted with astrology
at a very young age, that he was a gifted student and that by practicing
medicine, he followed the footsteps of his ancestors.
These stories reveal the way people looked at Nostradamus throughout
the centuries and the status and characteristics which were attributed to
him, whether or not falsely.
Dr. Edgar Leroy, the author of Nostradamus - ses origines, sa vie, son oeuvre, examined these stories and separated facts from fiction.
The article The life of Nostradamus - facts
contains, in short, tabular form, facts about Nostradamus' life which
ancestors of Nostradamus
Chronique de Provence, Jehan de Nostredame,
a younger brother of Nostradamus, wrote that a Pierre de Nostredame,
Nostradamus' great-grandfather, was a famous physician and astrologer,
who was acquainted with Greec and Hebrew. This Pierre de Nostredame was
also supposed to have been the physician of the French king Rene the
Good. Cesar, Nostradamus' son, copied this in his Histoire et
chronique de Provence (and edited it slightly). In reality, Pierre
de Nostredame was Nostradamus' grandfather. He was neither a physician
nor an astrologer, but a trader in wheat and silver
In the Brief Discours, it
reads that Nostradamus' marental great-grandfather gave him a first look
at the celestial sciences at a very young age (See the Brief
Discours in: Le Pelletier, volume I, p.24). This story is not
correct. Jean de Saint-Rémy, the marental great-grandfather, physician
and treasurer of Saint-Rémy de Provence, was born in 1428 and died in
1504. At that time, Nostradamus was only one year old. He inherited his
great-grandfather's astrolabium, a device with which the positions of
stars could be measured.
The story goes that at school,
Nostradamus was talking that much about stars and planets, that his
classmates nicknamed him the "little astrologer" (Leoni,
at the Montpellier University
On October 23, 1529, Nostradamus
inscribed to the Medical Faculty of the Montpellier University, the one
in which François Rabelais was inscribed in 1530 (Rabelais got his
doctor's degree on May 22, 1537). In 1533, Rabelais wrote the Pantagruéline
Pronostication, an almanac, meant as a parody.
It is told about Nostradamus that his name was deleted from the student
lists, because he defamed some of his teachers. This deleting was also
caused because of the fact that previously, he practiced pharmacy. Back
in those days, both barbers and pharmacists were systematically banned
from the university. Nevertheless, Nostradamus could
continue his studies and in 1533 obtained his doctor's degree (Hofstede,
p.20). Leroy notes that no proof has been found for the story that
Nostradamus became a professor of the Montpellier University by
acclamation (Leroy, p.58).
It is told about
Nostradamus' stay in Agen that around 1534, his parents-in-law sewed
him. The story does not reveal the nature of the conflict; it is told
that Nostradamus was demainded to give back the dowry (Leroy,
1539, in Argenton (Lot-en-Garonne), Nostradamus would have risen a man
from the dead. As a sign of gratitude, this man, named Pitard, ordered
that a statue of Nostradamus was put in top of a church tower.
next story was recorded in the 17th century by a.o. Etienne Jaubert and
Pierre-Joseph de Haitze. In Fains, a village in Lorraine, East-France,
Nostradamus treated the grandmother of De Florinville, the owner of the
local castle where Nostradamus stayed. During a walk, De Florenville saw
a white and a black pig and asked Nostradamus about their fate.
Nostradamus answered that a wolf would eat the white pig and that they
would eat the black one. Later, De Florinville ordered to kill the white
pig and to prepare it for dinner. Suddenly, the meat was taken by a
little wolf's cub, which was kept in the castle. The cook decided to
kill the black pig. De Florinville, who did not know anything about this
incident, told Nostradamus that evening that they were now about to eat
the flesh of the white pig, which was not at all touched by a wolf.
Nostradamus however sticked to his opinion that they were about to eat
the flesh of the black pig. In the end, the cook was ordered to come in.
The cook informed them about the incident.
Later, Nostradamus would have told several persons that in the hills
around the castle, a treasure was hidden, for which one would look in
vain, but finally, he said, the treasure would be found during the
search for something else (Leroy, p.63-64).
next story deals with a period when Nostradamus was in Italy. On a day,
he encountered a Franciscan monk, named Felice Peretti, from Ancona.
This Peretti used to be a swinekeaper. While passing, Nostradamus put a
knee to the ground. Asked for his reason to do so, he replied: I must
submit myself and bend a knee before His Holiness.
In 1585, Felice Peretti became Pope Sixtus V (Leoni, p.20).
the 19th century, two series of prophecies came to light: the
"Prophecies of Philippus Olivarius, printed in 1542" and the
"Prophecy of Orval, written by Philippe Olivarius in 1544".
These predictions would deal with Napoleon Bonaparte. In reality, these
are predictions, printed in respectively 1820 and 1839. The Century-scholars Bareste and Torné-Chavigny attributed them
falsely to Nostradamus. According to the story, Nostradamus would have
written these prophecies during his stay in the Cistercian Abbey of
Orval (Leoni, p.21).
next story deals with Nostradamus as a plague fighter and is recorded by
Eugène Bareste. Around 1547, Nostradamus had a conflict with a
colleague who did not care about his prescriptions. A delegation begged
him not to leave the city in anger. Nostradamus replied that they had to
choose between him and his rival. The delegation said they chose
"doctor Nostradamus, the liberator of Aix" (Leoni, p.23).
next story deals with the period in which Nostradamus lived in
Salon-de-Provence. One night, a neighbour's daughter passed by and went
into the woods to gather some firewood. Nostradamus greated her with
"good evening, little lady". When she came back some time
later, he uttered "good evening, madame" (Leoni, p.29).
According to Hofstede, this story originates from ancient times, dealing
with the Greek philosopher Democrite (Hofstede, p.24).
another story, situated in the time in which Nostradamus lived in
Salon-de-Provence, it is told that Nostradamus, while looking from his
window early in the morning, exclaimed that that day would be good for
the sewing of beans. A farmer who passed by at that moment, heard this
and quickly sewed his beans. His harvest was abundant and as a sign of
gratitude he sacrified a part of it (Leroy,
next story deals with Nostradamus' visit to the French Court in 1555 and
is recorded by De Chavigny in Vie et
testament de Nostradamus. A servant of a family, named De Beauveau,
lost a precious dog for which he was supposed to take care of. One
evening, he went to a house close to Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, where
Nostradamus stayed. Because it was very late, he shouted that he came in
the name of the king. Before he could say anything about the reason for
his visit, Nostradamus called to him: What is the matter, you king's
servant? What a noise about a missing dog! Go to the road to Orléans,
there you will find him! (Leroy, p.83).
death of king Henry II in 1559
King Henry II, born in 1519, died
on July 10, 1559, because of a wound close to his eye. He got this wound
on June 30, 1559, during a tournament on the occasion of the wedding of
his daughter Elisabeth with the Spanish king Felipe II. According to the
French Century-scholar H. Torné-Chavigny, Montmorency, Henry
II's Lord Chamberlain, exclaimed: Woe upon the wicked seer who predicted
so evil and so well! (Leroy, p.86).
The story goes that the Italian astrologer Luca Gaurico warned Henry II
to avoid every kind of single combat, especially around his 41st year of
living, because of the danger of getting injured on the head, which
might lead to blindness or in the worst case death. This story became
known after the decease of Henry II (Leroy, p.86).
It is not at all sure if Nostradamus predicted the decease of Henry II.
In the 1559-Progno-GB, the English translation of the 1559-Almanach-F,
there were nothing but favourable predictions for France and its king for
the summer of 1559. In the dedicacy to Jean de Vauzelles in the
1562-Prono-F, Nostradamus is supposed to have confirmed Vauzelles' idea
that the decease of Henry II was predicted in quatrain 03-55.
that the decease of Henry II was predicted in quatrain 01-35 is not one
of Nostradamus' ideas, neither an idea of De Chavigny, but César
Nostradamus' idea (Brind'Amour 1993a, p.267-268).
De Chavigny, to who the manuscript Recueil des Présages Prosaïques
is attributed, tried to demonstrate with numerous - far-fetched -
examples that Nostradamus predicted both the decease of Henry II (1559)
and François II (1560); he believed that these events ushered in the French
religious wars of the 1560's. The author of this website has reasons to
suppose that De Chavigny in one way or another was involved in the
compilation of Les
Significations de l'Eclipse qui sera le 16. septembre 1559, in an
attempt to convince the readers of this booklet that in 1558,
Nostradamus, facing his critics, predicted the death of Henry II and
François II (see: Les
Significations de l'Eclipse 1559 and Les
Significations de l'Eclipse 1559 and the 1559-Progno-GB).
death of Nostradamus
Nostradamus died on July 2, 1566.
According to De Chavigny, he died shortly before sunrise. De Chavigny,
who refers to his own personal memory, said that Nostradamus predicted
the date and the hour of his death, by means of the note Hic propè mors est (tr..:
Death is close at hand) in the Ephémérides by Jean Stadius, one
night, at the end of June, 1566. De Chavigny also tells that Nostradamus
told him on July 1, 1566, after finishing their work: "at
sunrise thou will not see me alive". (Brief
Discours, in: Le Pelletier, volume I, p.26).