Epistle to Henry II
TO THE MOST INVINCIBLE
MOST POWERFUL AND MOST CHRISTIAN
HENRY, KING OF FRANCE THE SECOND:
HIS VERY HUMBLE AND VERY OBEDIENT SERVANT AND SUBJECT,
WISHES VICTORY AND HAPPINESS
Ever since my long-beclouded face first presented itself before the immeasurable deity of your Majesty, O Most Christian and Most Victorious King, I have remained perpetually dazzled by that sovereign sight. I have never ceased to honor and venerate properly that date when I presented myself before a Majesty so singular and so humane. I have searched for some occasion on which to manifest high heart and stout courage, and thereby obtain even greater recognition of Your Most Serene Majesty. But I saw how obviously impossible it was for me to declare myself.
While I was seized with this singular desire to be transported suddenly from my long-beclouded obscurity to the illuminating presence of the first monarch of the universe, I was also long in doubt as to whom I would dedicate these last three Centuries of my prophecies, making up the thousand. After having meditated for a long time on an act of such rash audacity, I have ventured to address Your Majesty. I have not been daunted like those mentioned by that most grave author Plutarch, in his Life of Lycurgus, who were so astounded at the expense of the offerings and gifts brought as sacrifices to the temples of the immortal gods of that age, that they did not dare to present anything at all. Seeing your royal splendor to be accompanied by such an incomparable humanity, I have paid my address to it and not as those Kings of Persia whom one could neither stand before nor approach.
It is to a most prudent and most wise Prince that I have dedicated my nocturnal and prophetic calculations, which are composed rather out of a natural instinct, accompanied by a poetic furor, than according to the strict rules of poetry. Most of them have been integrated with astronomical calculations corresponding to the years, months and weeks of the regions, countries and most of the towns and cities of all Europe, including Africa and part of Asia, where most of all these coming events are to transpire. They are composed in a natural manner.
Indeed, someone, who would do well to blow his nose, may reply that the rhythm is as easy as the sense is difficult. That, O Most Humane king, is because most of the prophetic quatrains are so ticklish that there is no making way through them, nor is there any interpreting of them.
Nevertheless, I wanted to leave a record in writing of the years, towns, cities and regions in which most of the events will come to pass, even those of the year 1585 and of the year 1606, reckoning from the present time, which is March 14, 1557, and going far beyond to the events which will take place at the beginning of the seventh millenary, when, so far as my profound astronomical calculations and other knowledge have been able to make out, the adversaries of Jesus Christ and his Church will begin to multiply greatly.
I have calculated and composed all during choice hours of well-disposed days, and as accurately as I could, all when Minerva was free and not unfavorable. I have made computations for events over almost as long a period to come as that which has already passed, and by these they will know in all regions what is to happen in the course of time, just as it is written, with nothing superfluous added, although some may say, There can be no truth entirely determined concerning the future.
It is quite true, Sire, that my natural instinct has been inherited from my forebears, who did not believe in predicting, and that this is natural instinct has been adjusted and integrated with long calculations. At the same time, I freed my soul, mind and heart of all care, solicitude and vexation. All of these prerequisites for presaging I achieved in part by means of the brazen tripod.
There are some who would attribute to me that which is not mine at all. The eternal God alone, who is the thorough searcher of humane hearts, pious, just and merciful, is the true judge, and it is to him I pray to defend me from the calumny of evil men. These evil ones, in their slanderous way, would likewise want to inquire how all your most ancient progenitors, the Kings of France, have cured the scrofula, how those of other nations have cured the bite of snakes, how those of yet other nations have had a certain instinct for the art of divination and still others which would be too long to recite here.
Notwithstanding those who cannot contain the malignity of the evil spirit, as time elapses after my death, my writings will have more weight than during my lifetime. Should I, however, have made any errors in my calculation of dates, or prove unable to please everybody, I beg that your more than Imperial Majesty will forgive me. I protest before God and his Saints that I do not propose to insert any writings in this present Epistle that will be contrary to the true Catholic faith, whilst consulting the astronomical calculations to the best of my ability.
Such is the extent of time past, subject to correction by the most learned judgment, that the first man, Adam, came 1,242 years before Noah (not reckoning by such Gentile calculations as Varro used, but simply by the Holy Scriptures, as best my weak understanding and astronomical calculations can interpret them.) About 1,080 years after Noah and the universal flood came Abraham, who, according to some, was a first-rate astrologer and invented the Chaldean alphabet. About 515 or 516 years later came Moses, and from his time to that of David about 570 years elapsed. From the time of David to that of out Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, born of the unique Virgin, 1,350 year elapsed, according to some chronographs. Some may object that this calculation cannot be true, because it differs from that of Eusebius. From the time of the human redemption to the detestable heresy of the Saracens about 621 years elapsed. From this one can easily add up the amount of time gone by.
Although my calculations may not hold good for all nations, they have, however, been determined by the celestial movements, combined with the emotion, handed down to me by my forebears, which comes over me at certain hours. But the danger of the times, O Most Serene King, requires that such secrets should not be bared except in enigmatic sentences having, however, only one sense and meaning, and nothing ambiguous or amphibological inserted. Rather they are under a cloudy obscurity, with a natural infusion not unlike the creation of the world, according to the calculation and Punic Chronicle of Joel: I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh and your sons and daughters will prophesy. But such Prophecy proceeded from the mouth of the Holy Ghost who was the sovereign and eternal power, together with the heavens, and caused some of them to predict great and marvelous events.
As for myself, I would never claim such a title, never, please God. I readily admit that all proceeds from God and render to Him thanks, honor and immortal praise. I have mixed therewith no divination coming from fate. All from God and nature, and for the most part integrated with celestial movements. It is much like seeing in a burning mirror, with clouded vision, the great events, sad, prodigious and calamitous events that in due time will fall upon the principal worshippers. First, upon the temples of God; secondly, upon those who, sustained by the earth, approach such a decadence. Also a thousand other calamitous events which will be known to happen in due time.
For God will take notice of the long barrenness of the great dame, who thereupon will conceive two principal children. But she will be in danger, and the female to whom she will have given birth will also, because of the temerity of the age, be in danger of death in her eighteenth year, and will be unable to live beyond her thirty-sixth year. She will leave three males, and one female, and of these two will not have had the same father.
There will be great differences between the three brothers, and then there will be such great cooperation and agreement between them that the three and four parts of Europe will tremble. The youngest of them will sustain and augment the Christian monarchy, and under him sects will be elevated, and suddenly cast down, Arabs will be driven back, kingdoms united and new laws promulgated.
The oldest one will rule the land whose escutcheon is that of the furious crowned lions with their paws resting upon intrepid arms.
The one second in age, accompanied by the Latins, will penetrate far, until a second furious and trembling path has been beaten to the Great St. Bernard Pass. From there he will descend to mount the Pyrenees, which will not, however, be transferred to the French crown. And this third one will cause a great inundation of human blood, and for a long time Lent will not include March.
The daughter will be given for the preservation of the Christian Church. Her lord will fall into the pagan sect of the new infidels. Of her two children, one will be faithful to the Catholic Church, the other an infidel.
The unfaithful son, who, to his great confusion and later repentance, will want to ruin her, will have three widely scattered regions, namely, the Roman, Germany and Spain, which will set up diverse sects by armed force. The 50th to the 52th degree of latitude will be left behind.
And all will render the homage of ancient religions to the region of Europe north of the 48th parallel. The latter will have trembled first in vain timidity but afterwards the regions to its west, south and east will tremble. But the nature of their power will be such that what has been brought about by concord and union will prove insuperable by warlike conquests.
In nature they will be equal, but very different in faith.
After this the barren Dame, of greater power than the second, will be received by two of the nations. First, by them made obstinate by the onetime masters of the universe. Second, by the latter themselves.
The third people will extend their forces towards the circuit of the East of Europe where, in the Pannonias, they will be overwhelmed and slaughtered. By sea they will extend their Myrmidons and Germans to Adriatic Sicily. But they will succumb wholly and the Barbarian sect will be greatly afflicted and driven out by all the Latins.
Then the great Empire of the Antichrist will begin where once was Attila's empire and the new Xerxes will descend with great and countless numbers, so that the coming of the Holy Ghost, proceeding from the 48th degree, will make a transmigration, chasing out the abomination of the Christian Church, and whose reign will be for a time and to the end of time.
This will be preceded by a solar eclipse more dark and gloomy than any since the creation of the world, except that after the death and passion of Jesus Christ. And it will be in the month of October than the great translation will be made and it will be such that one will think the gravity of the earth has lost its natural movement and that it is to be plunged into the abyss of perpetual darkness.
In the spring there will be omens, and thereafter extreme changes, reversals of realms and mighty earthquakes. These will be accompanied by the procreation of the new Babylon, miserable daughter enlarged by the abomination of the first holocaust. It will last for only seventy-three years and seven months.
Then there will issue from the stock which had remained barren for so long, proceeding from the 50th degree, one who will renew the whole Christian Church. A great place will be established, with union and concord between some of the children of opposite ideas, who have been separated by diverse realms. And such will be the peace that the instigator and promoter of military factions, born of the diversity of religions, will remain chained to the deepest pit. And the kingdom of the Furious One, who counterfeits the sage, will be united.
The countries, towns, cities, realms and provinces which will have abandoned their old customs to gain liberty, but which will in fact have enthralled themselves even more, will secretly have wearied of their liberty. Faith lost in their perfect religion, they will begin to strike to the left, only to return to the right. Holiness, for a long time overcome, will be replaced in accordance with the earliest writings.
Thereafter the great dog, the biggest of curs, will go forth and destroy all, the same old crimes being perpetrated again. Temples will be set up again as in ancient times, and the priest will be restored to his original position and he will begin his whoring and luxury, and will commit a thousand crimes.
At the eve of another desolation, when she is atop her most high and sublime dignity, some potentates and warlords will confront her, and take away her two swords, and leave her only the insignia, whose curvature attracts them. The people will make him go to the right and will not wish to submit themselves to those of the opposite extreme with the hand in acute position, who touch the ground, and want to drive spurs into them.
The people of the world from this benevolent slavery to which they had voluntary submitted. He will put himself under the protection of Mars, stripping Jupiter of all his honors and dignities, and establish himself in the free city in another scant Mesopotamia. The chief and governor will be cast out from the middle and hung up, ignorant of the conspiracy of one of the conspirators with the second Thrasibulus, who for a long time will have directed all this.
Then the impurities and abominations, with a great shame, will be brought out and manifested in the shadows of the veiled light, and will cease towards the end of the change in reign. The chiefs of the Church will be backward in the love of God, and several of them will apostatize from the true faith. Of the three sects, that which is in the middle, because of its own partisans, will be thrown a bit into decadence. The first one will be exterminated throughout all Europe and most of Africa by the third one, making use of the poor in spirit who, led by madmen to libidinous luxury, will adulterate.
The supporting common people will rise up and chase out the adherents of the legislators. From the way realms will have been weakened by the Easterners, it will seem that God the Creator has loosed Satan from the prisons of hell to give birth to the great Dog and Dogam, who will make such an abominable breach in the Churches that neither the reds nor the whites without eyes or hands will know what to make of it, and their power will be taken from them.
Then will commence a persecution of the Churches the like of which was never seen. Meanwhile, such a plague will arise that more than two thirds of the world will be removed. One will be unable to ascertain the true owners of fields and houses, and weeds growing in the streets of cities will rise higher than the knees. For the clergy there will be but utter desolation. The warlords will usurp what is returned from the City of the Sun, from Malta and the Isles of Hyhres. The great chain of the port which wakes its name from the marine ox will be opened.
And a new incursion will be made by the maritime shores, wishing to deliver the Sierra Morea from the first Mahometan recapture. Their assaults will not all be in vain, and the place which was once the abode of Abraham will be assaulted by persons who hold the Jovialists in veneration. And this city of "Achem" will be surrounded and assailed on all sides by a most powerful force of warriors. Their maritime forces will be weakened by the Westerners, and great desolation will fall upon this realm. Its greatest cities will be depopulated and those who enter will fall under the vengeance of the wrath of God.
The sepulcher, for long an object of such great veneration, will remain in the open, exposed to the sight of the heavens, the Sun and the Moon. The holy place will be converted into a stable for a herd large and small, and used for profane purposes. Oh, what a calamitous affliction will pregnant women bear at this time.
For hereupon the principal Eastern chief will be vanquished by the Northerners and Westerners, and most of his people, stirred up, will be put to death, overwhelmed or scattered. His children, offspring of many women, will be imprisoned. Then will be accomplished the prophecy of the Royal Prophet, Let him hear the groaning of the captives, that he might deliver the children of those doomed to die.
What great oppression will then fall upon the Princes and Governors of Kingdoms, especially those which will be maritime and Eastern, whose tongues will be intermingled with all others: the tongue of the Latins, and of the Arabs, via the Phoenicians. And all these Eastern Kings will be chased, overthrown and exterminated, but not altogether, by means of the forces of the Kings of the North, and because of the drawing near of our age through the three secretly united in the search for death, treacherously laying traps for one another. This renewed Triumvirate will last for seven years, and the renown of this sect will extend around the world. The sacrifice of the hole and immaculate Wafer will be sustained.
Then the Lords of "Aquilon" [the North], two in number, will be victorious over the Easterners, and so great a noise and bellicose tumult will they make amongst them that all the East will tremble in terror of these brothers, yet not brothers, of "Aquilon" [the North].
By this discourse, Sire, I present these predictions almost with confusion, especially as to when they will take place. Furthermore, the chronology of time which follows conforms very little, if at all, with that which has already been set forth. Yet it was determined by astronomy and other sources, including Holy Scriptures, and thus could not err. If I had wanted to date each quatrain, I could have done so. But this would not have been agreeable to all, least of all to those interpreting them, and was not to be done until Your Majesty granted me full power to do so, lest calumniators be furnished with an opportunity to injure me.
Anyhow, I count the years from the creation of the world to the birth of Noah as 1,506, and from the birth of Noah to the completion of the Ark, at the time of the universal deluge, as 600 (let the years be solar, or lunar, or a mixture of the ten) I hold that the Sacred Scriptures use solar years. And at the end of these 600 years, Noah entered the Ark to be saved from the deluge. This deluge was universal, and lasted one year and two months. And 295 years elapsed from the end of the flood to the birth of Abraham, and 100 from then till the birth of Isaac. And 60 years later Jacob was born. 130 years elapsed between the time he entered Egypt and the time he came out. Between the entry of Jacob into Egypt and the exodus, 430 years passed. From the exodus to the building of the Temple by Solomon in the fourth year of his reign, 480 years. According to the calculations of the Sacred Writings, it was 490 years from the building of the Temple to the time of Jesus Christ. Thus, this calculation of mine, collected from the holy writ, comes to about 4,173 years and 8 months, more or less. Because there is such a diversity of sects, I will not go beyond Jesus Christ.
I have calculated the present prophecies according to the order of the chain which contains its revolution, all by astronomical doctrine modified by my natural instinct. After a while, I found the time when Saturn turns to enter on April 7 till August 25, Jupiter on June 14 till October 7, Mars from April 17 to June 22, Venus from April 9 to May 22, Mercury from February 3 to February 24. After that, from June 1 to June 24, and from September 25 to October 16, Saturn in Capricorn, Jupiter in Aquarius, Mars in Scorpio, Venus in Pisces, Mercury for a month in Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces, the Moon in Aquarius, the Dragon's head in Libra: its tail in opposition following a conjunction of Jupiter and Mercury with a quadrature of Mars and Mercury, and the Dragon's head coinciding with a conjunction of the Sun and Jupiter. And the year without an eclipse peaceful.
But not everywhere. It will mark the commencement of what will long endure. For beginning with this year the Christian Church will be persecuted more fiercely than it ever was in Africa, and this will last up to the year 1792, which they will believe to mark a renewal of time.
After this the Roman people will begin to re-establish themselves, chasing away some obscure shadows and recovering a bit of their ancient glory. But this will not be without great division and continual changes. Thereafter Venice will raise its wings very high in great force and power, not far short of the might of ancient Rome.
At that time the great sails of Byzantium, allied with the Ligurians and through the support and power of "Aquilon" [the Northern Realm], will impede them so greatly that the two Cretans will be unable to maintain their faith. The arks built by the Warriors of ancient times will accompany them to the waves of Neptune. In the Adriatic great discord will arise, and that which will have been united will be separated. To a house will be reduced that which was, and is, a great city, including "Pampotamia" and "Mesopotamia" of Europe at 45, and others of 41, 42 and 37 degrees.
It will be at this time and in these countries that the infernal power will set the power of its adversaries against the Church of Jesus Christ. This will constitute of the second Antichrist, who will persecute that Church and its true Vicar, by means of the power of three temporal kings who in their ignorance will be seduced by tongues which, in the hands of the madmen, will cut more than any sword.
The said reign of the Antichrist will last only to the death of him who was born at the beginning of the age and of the other one of Lyon, associated with the elected one of the House of Modena and of Ferrara, maintained by the Adriatic Ligurians and the proximity of great Sicily. Then the Great St. Bernard will be passed.
The Gallic Ogmios will be accompanied by so great a number that the Empire of his great law will extend very far. For some time thereafter the blood of the Innocent will be shed profusely by the recently elevated guilty ones. Then, because of great floods, the memory of things contained in these instruments will suffer incalculable loss, even letters. This will happen to the "Aquiloners" [the Northern People] by the will of God.
Once again Satan will be bound, universal peace will be established among men, and the Church of Jesus Christ will be delivered from all tribulations, although the Philistines would like to mix in the honey of malice and their pestilent seduction. This will be near the seventh millenary, when the sanctuary of Jesus Christ will no longer be trodden down by the infidels who come from "Aquilon" [the North]. The world will be approaching a great conflagration, although, according to my calculations in my prophecies, the course of time runs much further.
In the Epistle that some years ago I dedicated to my son, Cisar Nostradamus, I declared some points openly enough, without presage. But here, Sire, are included several great and marvelous events which those to come after will see.
During this astrological supputation, harmonized with the Holy Scriptures, the persecution of the Ecclesiastical folk will have its origin in the power of the Kings of "Aquilon" [the North], united with the Easterners. This persecution will last for eleven years, or somewhat less, for then the chief King of "Aquilon" will fall.
Thereupon the same thing will occur in the South, where for the space of three years the Church people will be persecuted even more fiercely through the Apostatic seduction of one who will hold all the absolute power in the Church militant. The hole people of God, the observer of his law, will be persecuted fiercely and such will be their affliction that the blood of the true Ecclesiastics will flow everywhere.
One of the horrible temporal Kings will be told by his adherents, as the ultimate in praise, that he has shed more of human blood of Innocent Ecclesiastics than anyone else could have spilled of wine. This King will commit incredible crimes against the Church. Human blood will flow in the public streets and temples, like water after an impetuous rain, coloring the nearby rivers red with blood. The ocean itself will be reddened by another naval battle, such that one king will say to another, Naval battles have caused the sea to blush.
Then, in this same year, and in those following, there will ensue the most horrible pestilence, made more stupendous by the famine which will have preceded it. Such great tribulations will never have occurred since the first foundation of the Christian Church. It will cover all Latin regions, and will leave traces in some countries of the Spanish.
Thereupon the third King of "Aquilon" [the North], hearing the lament of the people of his principal title, will raise a very mighty army and, defying the tradition of his predecessors, will put almost everything back in its proper place, and the great Vicar of the hood will be put back in his former state. But desolated, and then abandoned by all, he will turn to find the Holy of Holies destroyed by paganism, and the old and new Testaments thrown out and burned.
After that Antichrist will be the infernal prince again, for the last time. All the Kingdoms of Christianity will tremble, even those of the infidels, for the space of twenty-five years. Wars and battles will be more grievous and towns, cities, castles and all other edifices will be burned, desolated and destroyed, with great effusion of vestal blood, violations of married woman and widows, and sucking children dashed and broken against the walls of towns. By means of Satan, Prince Infernal, so may evils will be committed that nearly all the world will find itself undone and desolated. Before these events, some rare birds will cry in the air: Hui, Hui [Today, today] and some time later will vanish.
After this has endured for a long time, there will be almost renewed another reign of Saturn, and golden age. Hearing the affliction of his people, God the Creator will command that Satan be cast into the depths of the bottomless pit, and bound there. Then a universal peace will commence between God and man, and Satan will remain bound for around a thousand years, and then all unbound.
All these figures represent the just integration of Holy Scriptures with visible celestial bodies, namely, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and others conjoined, as can be seen at more length in some of the quatrains. I would have calculated more profoundly and integrated them even further, Most Serene King, but for the fact that some given to censure would raise difficulties. Therefore I withdraw my pen and seek nocturnal repose.
Many events, most powerful of all Kings, of the most astounding sort are to transpire soon, but I neither could nor would fit them all into this epistle; but in order to comprehend certain horrible facts, a few must be set forth. So great is your grandeur and humanity before men, and your piety before the gods, that you alone seem worthy of the great title of the Most Christian King, and to whom the highest authority in all religion should be deferred.
But I shall only beseech you, Most Clement King, by this singular and prudent humanity of yours, to understand rather the desire of my heart, and the sovereign wish I have to obey Your Most Serene Majesty, ever since my eyes approached your solar splendor, than the grandeur of my labor can attain to or acquire. From Salon, this 27th of June, 1558.
Written by Michel Nostradamus at Salon-de-Crau in Provence.
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