Nostradamus was a French apothecary (a health professional who is well-versed in the art of preparing and dispensing drugs) and renowned seer (a person with allegedly unusual powers of foresight) who is best known today for his collection of prophecies about some of the major events of the world.
All these prophecies which Nostradamus wrote in form of quatrains were published in his book titled Les Propheties (The Prophecies). Even though Nostradamus died way back in the 16th century, he continues to live through his prophecies - and that in itself shows how famous he was.
Biography of Nostradamus
In an attempt to trace the life of Nostradamus, with special reference to his amazing ability to see the future, we decided to come up with his biography. While the lack of information on Nostradamus did make this seemingly easy task a bit difficult, we did manage to come up with the same at the end of the day.
Whilst making your way through the given Nostradamus timeline, you are likely to come across several facts about him that you must have never come across before.
Nostradamus was born as Michel de Nostredame on 14th December, 1503, in Saint-Remy-de-Provence of France. (There do exist some sources which state that he was born on 21st December, 1503, and that has left the historians divided into two.) Not much is known about his childhood, and hence one has to rely on bits and pieces of information to trace the same.
He was one of the nine children born to Jaume de Nostredame - a notary by profession, and Reyniere de Saint-Remy. Some sources also suggest that Nostradamus spent much of his childhood learning math, astronomy and astrology as well as different languages, all of which helped him a lot in the latter stages of his life.
At the age of fifteen (some sources suggest fourteen) Nostradamus joined the University of Avignon to pursue a bachelor's degree. However, luck didn't favor him, and he had to leave the university halfway when a plague outbreak brought life to a standstill in Europe.
Nostradamus spent the next few years of his life traveling across the countryside wherein he carried out research on herbal remedies. He did manage to enter the University of Montpellier with the intention of pursuing a doctorate in medicine in 1529, only to expelled eventually for being an apothecary which was disallowed by the university statutes.
In 1531, Nostradamus was invited by Renaissance scholar Jules-Cesar Scaliger to Agen in south-western France to work with him. It was here that he got married to his first wife with whom he had two children.
Sadly though, all three of them - his wife and both children, died in 1534. In 1545, he went to Marseille to assist the renowned physician Louis Serre, who was fighting against the outbreak of plague in Marseille. After that, he also worked in Salon-de-Provence and Aix-en-Provence to rein in plague outbreaks in this region.
He played a pioneering role in reducing the intensity of plague in Aix-en-Provence for which people didn't just begin to respect him, but also offered him a stipend for life. In 1547, he settled in Salon-de-Provence where he married Anne Ponsarde a rich widow from whom he eventually had six children.
His Stint with Occult
It was his visit to Italy which introduced Nostradamus to the world of occult, following which he began concentrating on this newfound interest of his - instead of medicine. He wrote an almanac on this subject in 1550 wherein he used the name Nostradamus - the Latin version of Nostredame, for the very first time.
Inspired by the tremendous success of this almanac, he resolved to write at least one almanac every year. These almanacs made him quite popular among prominent persons of the region, and soon enough people from far off began to flock to him for horoscopes and psychic predictions and advice.
Following his success in occult, Nostradamus began working on his book of thousand prophecies, which were written in form of French quatrains (four lined poems), about some of the major events of the world.
These quatrains were eventually published in form of a book titled Les Propheties (The Prophecies) for which he is famous even today several decades after his death. While some people were of the opinion that Nostradamus' predictions were spiritually inspired, others called him a servant of evil and insane.
He was always in good terms with the Church, and the only instance when he was imprisoned at Marignane (in 1561) was because he had published his almanac for the following year without asking for permission from the bishop.
Last Years and Death
Nostradamus became quite popular in different parts of the world in 1550s. Among his admirers was Catherine de Médicis - the queen consort of King Henri II of France, who appointed him as a Counselor as well as a Physician-in-Ordinary to her son King Charles IX.
Nostradamus spent the last days of his life serving on these positions close to the Royal Family. On the other hand, the gout which he was carrying for several years had developed into a life-threatening oedema. Nostradamus succumbed to his deteriorating health on the night of 1st July, 1566.
There is no doubt about the fact that he was quite popular among people who believe in occult, but there also exist people who are least impressed by his prophecies. All his prophecies have come under the scanner for being vague, and hence, vulnerable to misinterpretations and mistranslations.
While the critics may not seem to be impressed by Nostradamus' predictions for 2012 or all those predictions which have allegedly come true, the fact that Nostradamus has become a legend today several centuries after his death, does give his special powers a benefit of doubt.