Biography of Miguel [padre] Nostradamus (1503-1566)

Physician, astrologer and French magician, born December 14, 1503, in Saint-Rémy de Provence, and died in 1566, in Salon.

His real name was Michel de Notredame, and was born in a family of Jews converted to Christianity in which there had been several doctors of great celebrity. After learning the rudiments of medical science with one of his grandparents, he/she studied at Avignon and at the school of Medicine of Montpellier. The plague of 1525-1529 forced him to leave that city and to practice as a doctor, although it had obtained his title, in Narbonne, Toulouse and Bordeaux still in an official way. Montpellier was liberated from the plague epidemic, he/she returned to this city, where finally obtained the degree of doctor, and then settled in Agen. In this city he/she married and had two children, but soon killed both, as well as his wife, which led him to embark on a long journey of more than ten years that attempted to forget his family misfortunes and deepen in its medical and astrological knowledge.

He returned to marry a beautiful heiress of Salon, city in which settled in the year 1544. Your new marriage procured him a period of peace and comfort very fruitful, in addition to several children who were born with the passage of time. When the following year he/she returned to explode the plague, his services were required in several French cities. Lyon was where harvested his biggest hits and where greater fame won, although various rivalries and lawsuits with several colleagues jealous of his fame was forced to return to the classroom, where he/she dedicated himself to writing different medical works. In its shelter, deepened further in bibliographies astrological and divination, and began to write him their famous Propheties ("prophecies"), whose first edition, which included seven "centuries", was born in the year 1555.

The Propheties is a play written in verse, in a dark and artful style, and with enigmatic contents trying to guess the future of France and the world up to the year 3797, in which there would be supposedly the Apocalypse. One of their most famous predictions concerning the destruction of the West Mongolian peoples in the East would cause in 1999. According to the own fortune teller in the first century, their divinatory technique was based on sit in front of a tripod front which was a container of glass with water, until it arrived, in the form of luminous flame, prophetic inspiration. Despite its low intelligibility, his work achieved instant popularity that reached the Court, which explains that Catherine de Medicis immediately invite the astrologer to Paris and there to cover him of honors and distinctions. Great impression caused the fact that had prophesied the death of Enrique II because of wounds received in a tournament. This made him one of the most appreciated and requested of the Court.

In 1558, he/she published a new edition of his work, with three centuries added, which did not only increase his fame. In the year 1564 visited him at his home in Salon Carlos Emmanuel of Savoy, Princess Daisy and the same Carlos IX, which named you your personal physician. But the envy and jealousy of many colleagues were able, however, which his person and his work always gravitasen doubt and exist a permanent controversy. During his lifetime, never missed the voices who denounced it as a sham and professional fraudster. These criticisms increased, logically, after his death, and a century after she, characters such as Pierre Gassendi proved that some of their horoscopes contain very important errors. Despite this, his Propheties continued to be a work of immense popularity, which is has been re-edited, analyzing and studying since then until today, and which has been translated into numerous languages.

Michel de Nostradamus is attributed to other works, apart from its famous Propheties: Traité des fardements ("Treaty of make-up") (Lyon, 1552), Le remède tres utile contre toutes fièvres et plague pestilentielles ("remedy very useful against the plague and all pestilenciales fevers") (Paris, 1561), and Traité des singulieres m'entretenir pour la santé du corps ("Treaty of unique recipes to keep the body healthy") (Lyon1572).

Michel de Nostradamus was father of another astrologer of the same name, called "The young", who published, still life of his father, a Traité d'astrologie ("Treaty of astrology") (Paris, 1563), and prophesied that the village of Pouzin would be devoured by the flames. He/She was surprised when he/she was in charge of set fire to see fulfilled his prophecy, and executed immediately in 1574. Another of his sons was the painter Cesar (1555-1629), gentleman of the Chamber of Luis XIII and author of a portrait of his father which is preserved in Avignon.


TORNÉ-CHAVIGNY, H., Nostradamus Influence dans le gouvernement de France. Paris, 1878.

MOURA, j., and P. LOUVET, La vie de Nostradamus. Paris, 1930.

CHOMARAT, Michel, Bibliographie Nostradamus: XVIe-XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles. Baden-Baden, 1989.

CAPEL, Susan, Nostradamus: His life and predictions. London, 1995.