Popular French physician and astrologer whose predictions of the future have fascinated people for centuries, inspiring numerous books, countless articles, various movies and a number of television specials.
Nostradamus' name has become synonymous with prophecy and he is better known to the general public than any of the Old Testament prophets.
Nostradamus was born of Jewish descent in the town of Saint-Remy in Provence, France, on December 14 1503, Michael de Nostredame (later called Nostradamus).
Nostradamus acquired fame as a doctor by treating victims of the plague, but he eventually turned more to astrology and metaphysics. In 1555 he completed the Centuries, a book of more than 900 predictions about the fate of France, the world, and celebrated persons of his time. The title of the book refers to the fact that the contents are arranged in sections of 100 verses each. An expanded version was published in 1558.
Nostradamus' prophecies are written as four-lined rhymed verses (quatrains) in vague, often cryptic language. His fondness for anagrams and his penchant for sprinkling his verses with Hebrew, Latin, and Portuguese words further complicates interpretation of his predictions. Some interpreters say the verses can be applied to anything, or nothing, whereas others claim that various verses foretold the Great Fire of London in 1666, the deaths of several monarchs, details of the French Revolution, the rise of Napoleon and Hitler and World War II.
Because Nostradamus included very few dates in his prophecies and because, additionally, he did not organize them into a chronological order, the verses have been constantly reinterpreted since their publication. The Centuries remains a classic of the occult literature and hundreds of studies of it have been published.
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