1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Nostradamus

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NOSTRADAMUS (1503—1566), the assumed name of Michel de Notredame, a French astrologer, of Jewish origin, who was born at St Remi in Provence on the 13th of December 1503. After studying humanity and philosophy at Avignon, he took the degree of doctor of medicine at Montpellier in 1529. He settled at Agen, and in 1544 established himself at Salon near Aix in Provence. Both at Aix and at Lyons he acquired great distinction by his labours during outbreaks of the plague. In 1555 he published at Lyons a book of rhymed prophecies under the title of Centuries, which secured him the notice of Catherine de' Medici; and in 1558 he published an enlarged edition with a dedication to the king. The seeming fulfilment of some of his predictions increased his influence, and Charles IX. named him physician in ordinary. He died on the 2nd of July 1566.

The Centuries of Nostradamus have been frequently reprinted, and have been the subject of many commentaries. In 1781 they were condemned by the papal court, being supposed to contain a prediction of the fall of the papacy. Nostradamus was the author of a number of smaller treatises. See Bareste, Nostradamus (Paris, 1840).