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Sunday, 11 January 2009





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The world’s most famous seer

MOSCOW: (Anatoly Korolev for RIA Novosti) - In the 505 years since his birth, Nostradamus (December 14, 1503 - July 1, 1566), born Michel de Nostredame, has become one of the most vivid personalities in human history. If we completely believe his prophecies, we will have to admit that the actual laws of the Universe are different from those accepted by modern science.

According to Einstein, time and space are bound together and form a common gravity field, with the future just a point of origin on the coordinate axis, where the present happens simultaneously with the “clock striking on the hour.”

According to Nostradamus, our future exists somewhere beyond time; it has almost happened already and is vaguely visible in the distance, first as if through a veil of fog, and then becomes increasingly more clear.

Finally, the fog lifts, and with every strike of the clock, the future comes to meet us as our present. That means that a prophet can see the future by the will of God and tell it to the common people.

At a royal audience at the Louvre Palace on September 30, 1555, Nostradamus told King Henry II and his wife Catherine de Medici that in foretelling the future, he was just a string of a great violin, played by God. And the violin player uses him to convey information. Why was he chosen? He doesn’t know. He is just an ordinary sinner.

Nostradamus’ predictions stretch over a period of several thousands of years, from 1555 to 3797. The last part of the Centuries, covering the period from 2300 to 3797, is missing. What will happen in 2125 according to this book? The last ever Christian and Judaic services will be performed, with religions taking different forms that don’t include rituals or ceremonies from then on.

By a twist of fate, the greatest number of Nostradamus’ prophecies are related to the 20th century and include the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, the murder of the Russian royal family, the rise to power of Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin, political terror and Holocaust, Nazi Germany and its defeat in World War II, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and other events.

Here is an excerpt on the disintegration of the USSR: “The new Babylon, augmented by the abomination of the first Holocaust, will last no less than 73 years and 7 months.”

If we consider the start of the Soviet era as the dissolution of the Russian Constituent Assembly by the Bolsheviks on January 19, 1918, and its end as the 1991 coup, it makes exactly 73 years and 7 months.

His uncanny accuracy is what has made Nostradamus an iconic figure in the 20th century. He was born into a Jewish family which had converted to Catholicism in St. Rémy, Provence, in southern France.

His ancestors were merchants and doctors, and a similar fate was awaiting him. Before getting his doctorate at the Montpelier University, he went under the name of de Nostredame, which means “Holy Mother.”

Becoming a Doctor gave him the right to assume the Latin version of the name, Nostradamus. Not much of his biography has survived intact to this day. We know the most about the last period of his life, which was recorded by his disciple and first biographer Jacques Chauvigny.

The most important events were Nostradamus’ struggle against the plague, the release of his first book of the Centuries, and the sensational prediction of King Henry II’s death at a duel in the summer of 1559.

Nostradamus made his first prediction while attending a Catholic school in Avignon. Having seen two young pigs at the barn-yard, a black and a white one, he said the white pig would be killed by a wolf, and the black one served for dinner.

After the rector found out about the prediction, he ordered to have the black pig slaughtered and buried, and to serve the white pig for dinner immediately.

The cook rushed to fulfil the order, but was told at the barn-yard that the white pig had been snatched by a wolf, who had entered the barn through the roof, and only the black pig was left. Unsure of what to do, the cook served the black pig for dinner.

But the Medieval world was a small place. Rumors spread quickly and the cook had to confess the truth. After graduating from Avignon University and getting a Master’s degree, Michel moved to Aachen, where was happily married to Agene, and had two children with her.

But the plague epidemic swept through the area in 1537, taking the lives of his wife and children. It was then that Nostradamus had his first revelation. He spent the next ten years struggling with the plague, saving hundreds of lives from the deadly disease. His formula was simple: fresh air, clean water and lemon juice mixed with water, which contains Vitamin C.

For his medical merits, the Provence Parliament granted Nostradamus a lifetime pension in 1546 and he remained financially independent until the end of his life. Nostradamus left the site of his family’s death and moved to Salon.

There he married another woman and had six children with her. Soon he released the first almanac of his Centuries, consisting of 24 quatrains, or poetic puzzles which featured the future of Europe. The book was a great success.

The 1555 issue was completely sold out. One year later, Nostradamus published another section of the Centuries in four parts, each comprising 100 quatrains, or a total of 400 prophecies. He did this every year until the end of his life. He had been considered the town’s lunatic for a long time, until one of his predictions came true in a most striking way.

Here it is: “The young Lion will overcome the old one, in martial field by a single duel. In a golden cage he shall put out his eye.” On July 9, 1559, a solemn spear duel was held in Paris to mark the wedding of the Spanish King to the French King Henry II’s daughter.

The French King, wearing a gold-plated headgear with the vizor down, took on the young Scottish count Gabriel Montgomery. The count’s lance broke against the King’s armor and a fragment penetrated the vizor, taking out Henry II’s eye and reaching the brain. The news of the cruel death resounded throughout France.

The Queen was furious and swore to wear mourning for her husband all her life, a promise she kept. Nostradamus prepared for the worst. But Catherine de Medici spared him.

In fact, his fate was reminiscent of Joseph, who was brought to the Egyptian Pharaoh to decipher the meaning of a strange dream. Nostradamus was put in charge of the Queen’s children. He soon predicted the new king’s death, the enthronement of Catherine’s third son, her favourite, the massacre of St. Bartholomew and his own death.

According to Jacques Chauvigny, his biographer, one day he wished good night to Nostradamus as usual, but the great seer replied: “You will not find me alive at sunrise.” And that was just what happened.

In the morning of July 1, 1566, Nostradamus lay breathless on the floor in his study. He was 63. In his testament, the seer wished to be buried in a standing position, adding, however, that some day his bones would be scattered.

The prediction came true during the French Revolution, when Sans-culottes opened up his grave and scattered his bones to retaliate for his prophesy of the 1792 bloodshed.

As soon as the fact was reported to Robespierre, he ordered that the violators be executed immediately and Nostradamus’ remains reburied. He had a monument installed on his grave with an inscription that read, To the Prophet of Liberty. (Courtesy: Novosti) Writer Anatoly Korolev is a member of the Russian PEN Club.



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