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A bust of Michel de Nostradame

Nostradamus: Biography

Water fountain with a bust of Michel de Nostradame or Nostradamus in the Old Town of his hometown and birthplace of Saint-Remy-de-Provence, France | Image: Shutterstock

He is said to have prosephied Hitler and virtually every major event during his life and since his death. He even predicted his own death.

Michel de Nostredame was born the first son of Jewish parents, forced by the Inquisition to convert to Catholicism. Growing up he spent much of his time learning languages, mathematics, astronomy, and astrology from his grandfather.

Later he attended the University at Avignon, where he studied liberal arts. He graduated from the medical school at the University of Montpellier and began a private practice, where he succeeded at treating plague victims in Montpellier and the surrounding areas.

Around 1534 he married and began a family. Tragically, the plague which he had been so successful in treating previously, took the lives of his wife and two children.

Distraught and pursued by the Inquisition, Nostradamus packed his bags and travelled throughout Italy and France for the next six years.

He eventually settled down in the town of Salon, France, in 1554, where he married his second wife, Anne Ponsart Gemelle, with whom he raised six children - three boys and three girls.

It was during this time that he began his career as a prophet. In 1555, at the age of 52, he wrote his first collection of Centuries - a set of 100 quatrains. Over the next several years he would complete a total of 10 Centuries. The rhymed quatrains of Nostradamus were written in French with Italian, Greek, and Latin, full of symbolism and metaphor. The obscuration served two purposes: it avoided his being tried as a magician, and also meant the quatrains could be interpreted to fit numerous situations.

In 1564 Nostradamus was appointed Royal Physician to King Charles IX.

On July 1, 1566 Nostradamus offered his final prediction to his priest. In response to the priest's farewell of "Until tomorrow," Nostradamus is said to have answered: "You will not find me alive at sunrise." He died that night.