Nostradamus, also known as Michel de Notredame or Nostredame, was a French astrologer and physician born on December 14, 1503, in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. He was the most widely known seer of the century. Nostradamus began his medical practice in Agen in the 1530s, despite having never taken a medical degree and being expelled from medical school. He began making prophecies around 1547 and published a book called “Centuries” in 1555. The work was composed of hundreds of rhymed quatrains, each set of 100 referred to as a century. We will help you celebrate his birthday by collecting all of the facts about him here.
Michel de Nostredame, born in December 1503, was a French astrologer, physician, and renowned seer best known for his book “Les Prophéties” (published in 1555), a collection of 942 poetic quatrains supposedly forecasting future events. Nostradamus’ father’s family had been Jewish before converting to Catholicism a generation before Nostradamus was born.
He studied at the University of Avignon for a year before being forced to leave due to a plague epidemic. He worked as an apothecary for several years before enrolling at the University of Montpellier to undertake a doctorate but was expelled almost immediately when his work as an apothecary (a manual trade prohibited by university laws) was discovered. In 1531, he married young, but his wife and two children died due to the plague epidemic in 1534. Before remarrying Anne Ponsarde, with whom he had six children, he fought alongside doctors against the plague. He created an almanac in 1550 and, due to its success, continued to create them for subsequent years as he started working as an astrologer for numerous wealthy patrons.
“Les Prophéties,” published in 1555, depended heavily on historical and literary precedent and was met with mixed reviews at first. He had severe gout near the end of his life, which progressed to edema. He died on July 1 or 2, 1566. Over the years, ever since the publication of his “Les Prophéties,” Nostradamus has gained many followers, who, like much of the popular press, believe he correctly predicted many major world events. Academics deny that Nostradamus possessed authentic supernatural prophetic abilities, claiming that the associations made between world events and Nostradamus’ quatrains resulted from misreadings or mistranslations. Those same scholars also argue that Nostradamus’ predictions are distinctly ambiguous, meaning they could be applied to almost anything and are ineffective for deciding whether their author possessed true prophetic powers.
He works as an apothecary for several years before entering the University of Montpellier
He helps the influential physician Louis Serre in his battle against a massive plague epidemic in Marseille and then deals with further epidemics on his own in Salon-de-Provence and Aix-en-Provence.
“The Almanacs,” his most popular works, are published annually from now until his death.
He begins work on a book of 1,000 mostly French quatrains, which comprise the principally undated prophecies for which he is best known today.
Queen Catherine appoints him Physician-in-Ordinary and Counselor to her son, the young King Charles IX of France.
Why We Love Nostradamus
Nostradamus is famous for prophecies
Even in death, he is known for his famous prophecies. That’s not the only thing he did, but that brought about his rise to fame.
He didn’t let his failure stop him
Nostradamus was expelled from medical school because he was discovered to be an apothecary after being forced to leave the University of Avignon due to the plague. He also lost his wife and children to the plague, but he kept moving and made something for himself.
His work has stood the test of time
Over 500 years since his death, Nostradamus’ work is still being looked at today. People even believed that he prophesied about the COVID-19 outbreak.
5 Surprising Facts
He started life as a shopkeeper
In his early 20s, Nostradamus married and studied medicine before opening his apothecary shop, the equivalent of today's modern street pharmacy.
His first prophecies stemmed from grief
The sad death of Nostradamus' wife and children due to a plague outbreak in France is said to have set the future scryer on the path to foretelling events.
He feared accusations of witchcraft
Fearing accusations of sorcery and witchcraft, which carried the death penalty, Nostradamus may have written his predictions in codified language.
He was accused of plagiarism
Nostradamus relied heavily on one book, in particular, the “Mirabilis Liber” (1522), for his prophecies.
He published a cookbook
"Treatise on Cosmetics and Conserves" was one of Nostradamus' first publications, and it included recipes for marzipan paste, candied orange peel, marmalade, cherry jam, pear preserve, and quince jelly.
What does Nostradamus mean?
Nostradamus is a French word that means an astrologer who wrote cryptic predictions.
Where is Nostradamus's grave?
It is located in Salon-de-Provence, France, at Collégiale Saint-Laurent.
What was Nostradamus famous for?
Nostradamus was a French astrologer, physician, and seer widely regarded for his book “Les Prophéties” (published in 1555), a series of 942 poetic quatrains reportedly forecasting future events.
Nostradamus’s birthday dates