Nostradamus
(Michel de Notredame, 1503-1566)
   French physician and prophet. After the death of his wife and children from plague, he spent many years as an itinerant plague doctor. Like nearly all physcians of his time, he was also interested in astrology and be-came known for his prophecies of future events as much as for his cures of patients. His Centuries or Prophecies began being published in 1555. These were collections of verses organized into 10 "cen-turies," each of 100 quatrains. They are written in an obscure style modeled on the sayings of ancient oracles and sibyls. There were many believers in his prophecies, of which the most famous is the prediction, in a horoscope prepared for Queen Catherine de Medici, that each of her sons would become king, a prediction that nearly did come true since all but one of them succeeded to the throne in order of age. Because they claimed to foretell future events all the way to the year 3797, these verses have continued to be taken seriously by certain individuals and groups, especially at times of uncertainty and stress. Nostradamus' prophecies were especially menacing for French Calvinists, and they were his most vigorous critics.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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