“We give what is ours, we pass on our knowledge”
Michel de NOTREDAME aka NOSTRADAMUS, born December 14, 1503 in Saint-REMY de PROVENCE, from a family of Jewish converts to christians with paternal origins in the City of ALET LES BAINS. He studied in AVIGNON, where his knowledge was noticed. The plague epidemics which interrupted the lessons allowed him to deepen the study of plants, and the “pharmacy”. He then began an initiatory journey in search of “SIMPLE” plant recipes that would bring him back on several occasions to the magnificent NOTREDAME d ́ALET abbey and his family from 1521 to 1528. In 1529, he studied medicine in MONTPELLIER where he met famous people attracted by the fame of this university such as RABELAIS. He chooses the nickname of “NOSTRADAMUS” which means: we give what is ours, we transmit our knowledge.
There he learned astrology, due to the supposed influence of the planets on the course of the disease, and later, by publishing a series of almanacs, tried his hand at some “prognostications” like many of his colleagues. Under the name of “Centuries”, his will remain famous because of their mysterious aspect which allows many interpretations. Married for the first time to AGEN in 1531, he loses his wife Henriette DANCOS and his 2 children of epidemic, while, summoned to appear before the Tribunal of the Inquisition for having frequented Filibert SARRAZIN “a disbeliever who smelled of fagot” , he preferred to be away for a while. In 1533, he was awarded his doctorate in medicine at MONTPELLIER and left the humanist doctor Jules-César SCALIGER to AGEN with whom he no longer got along. Having developed an effective drug against the plague, it is reported everywhere where the epidemic is raging: LYON, MARSEILLE, AIX en PROVENCE, NARBONNE, CARCASSONNE, TOULOUSE, BORDEAUX …
In 1547, he married Anne PONSARD, a young widow from Salon, and moved to SALON in the house that bears his name today. In 10 years, he had 6 children, the eldest of whom César would become Consul de SALON (= mayor), historian, poet and painter. As early as 1552, he published a very original “treatise on fardements et jams”. At that time, only apothecaries sold jams as medicine. He expresses his admiration for ERASME who took the time to write to pass on his knowledge. In 1555, the 1st series of quatrains appeared, and Catherine de MEDICIS invited him to court at
PARIS to predict the future of royal children. In 1557, the Centuries edition was supplemented by a second series of quatrains. And for medicine, a translation of the “Paraphrase of Galen” is published. In 1559, King HENRI II died as the quatrain I- 35, published 4 years earlier seems to describe it exactly. This year, the “very useful remedy against the plague” appeared. On October 17, 1564, Catherine de MEDICIS came with her court to consult NOSTRADAMUS in SALON. It was on this occasion that the Magus predicted the reign of young Henri de NAVARRE, nephew of the Queen and future HENRI IV. Tortured by gout transformed into dropsy, on July 2, 1566, he was found dead near the bench and bed, as he had predicted. These bones, buried standing first in the Couvent des Cordeliers as he wished, then scattered by the soldiers of the Revolution, are currently in the Collegiate Church of Saint- LAURENT (chapel of the Virgin) in SALON. His work is complemented by a manuscript discovered in the 20th century, entitled “Hieroglyphs of HORAPOLLO” (interpretation of Egyptian hieroglyphics), dedicated to the Princess of NAVARRE. This man is, above all, a scholar, a scholar. It is the crucible in which all the trends from Antiquity are sublimated to explode in this fabulous 16th century. With his Centuries, his work whose poetry draws from the source of PETRARQUE, is part of an eschatologico-astrological literature (= forecast of the end of time by astrology) authorizing him to call himself Prophet at a time when the astrologers hide behind their science, facing a Church in crisis. The message that passes through his work is a real intellectual treasure.