Nostradamus

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Nostradamus
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For other uses, see Nostradamus (disambiguation).

Michel de Nostredame (14 December or 21 December 1503[1] – 2 July 1566), usually Latinised to Nostradamus, was a French apothecary and reputed seer who published collections of prophecies that have since become famous worldwide. He is best known for his book LesPropheties ("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 quatrainsare 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.[2]
[edit] BiographyNostredame's claimed birthplace before its recent renovation.
[edit] Childhood
Born on 14 or 21 of December 1503[1] in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence 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 originallybeen 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).[3] Michel's known siblings included Delphine, Jean I (c. 1507–77), Pierre, Hector, Louis, Bertrand, Jean II (born 1522) and Antoine (born 1523).[2][3][4] Littleelse is known about his childhood, although there is a persistent tradition that he was educated by his maternal great-grandfather Jean de St. Rémy[5] – a tradition which is somewhat vitiated by the fact that the latter disappears from the historical record after 1504, when the child was only one year old.[6]
[edit] Student years
At the age of sixteen Nostredame entered the University of Avignonto study for his baccalaureate. After little more than a year (when he would have studied the regular trivium of grammar, rhetoric and logic, rather than the later quadrivium of geometry, arithmetic, music and astronomy/astrology), he was forced to leave Avignon when the university closed its doors in the face of an outbreak of the plague. After leaving Avignon, Nostredame (according to his ownaccount) travelled the countryside for eight years from 1521 researching herbal remedies. In 1529, after some years as an apothecary, he entered the University of Montpellier to study for a doctorate in medicine. He was expelled shortly afterward when it was discovered that he had been an apothecary, a "manual trade" expressly banned by the university statutes.[7] The expulsion document (BIUMontpellier, Register S 2 folio 87) still exists in the faculty library.[2] 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.[8]
[edit] Marriage and healing work
In 1531 Nostredame was invited byJules-César Scaliger, a leading Renaissance scholar, to come to Agen.[3] There he married a woman of uncertain name (possibly Henriette d'Encausse), who bore him two children.[9] In 1534 his wife and children died, presumably from the Plague. After their deaths, he continued to travel, passing through France and possibly Italy.[3]

Nostradamus's house at Salon-de-Provence, as reconstructed...
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