Nostradamus FAQs

last updated 5/7/96

Author/Editor: Jeffrey Koenke (email:
Original Author: James Flanagan

  1. Question. What was Nostradamus' day job?

    Answer. Nostradamus was educated as a physician and was noted for his work during the plagues of the 16th century. In later years, he worked as an astrologer to clients who included the Queen of France.

  2. Question. What did Nostradamus write?

    Answer. Apart from his professional works (in which no one is really interested) he produced a number of prophetic works. We discern between the Centuries and the Prognostications. The Prognostications are like an Almanac. They contain a series of Predictions about the next year. Because these predictions were fulfilled (or not) more than 440 years ago few are interested in them.

    The really interesting stuff is the Centuries. This name comes from the fact that each Centurie contains 100 prophetic verses of 4 lines. These verses are called quatrains. Nostradamus wrote 10 Centuries, which are commonly numbered by roman numerals I to X.

  3. Question. In what kind of verse did Nostradamus write? Do the verse numbers have anything to do with the dates when the events are to occur?

    Answer. Nostradamus left his predictions in the form of several letters, almost 1000 4-line verses called quatrains (the Centuries), and a collection of 6-line verses called sixains. The prophesies are not sequential by date. Some interesting coincidences have been observed between the quatrain number (in the Centuries) and the last two digits of the year of the corresponding event, but this is not uniformly true.

  4. Question. It seems like there are more earthquakes, volcanoes, blizzards, cancer deaths, etc. today than ever before. Didn't Nostradamus predict that these things would happen at the end of the world?

    Answer. No. There are various prophesies that can be interpreted as earthquakes, bad weather, even global climate change. It seems that occurances of these events are to increase around the "time of troubles" and rise of the Anti-Christ.

    Nostradamus specifically said in one of his letters that he does not predict the end of the world. He also stated that his prophesies extend out several thousand years, which is far beyond the present age. The perception that there are more bad events than ever before may also be an artifact of observation. There have always been fires, earthquakes, genocide, wars, etc. It's just that CNN has not been around until recently.

  5. Question. Didn't Nostradamus say the world would end in (pick one) 1984, 1999, 2000, 2012?

    Answer. Nostradamus clearly stated, in plain French that his prophecies would extend to the year 3797 ( See preface ). It is not clear whether this (or is not) the end or the world E.Leoni states: '.... this will be the year when the roll is called up yonder.' Keep in mind that this is Leoni's interpretation.

  6. Question. Did Nostradamus predict any specific names, dates, or events?

    Answer. The names of [Louis] Pasteur, [Gen. Francisco] Franco, and others are clearly given by Nostradamus. The exact date of the London Fire (1666) is also plainly given. Many interpreters think that Hitler's name is also given, slightly modified, as "Hister." There are still many unsolved names and dates.
    In other quatrains, several dates are given in terms of fairly specific and unique astronomical data (e.g., planet positions in the zodiac).

  7. Question. I'm missing quatrains 43-100 in Centurie VII.

    Answer. You're not missing them, for unknown reasons Centurie VII contains only 42 quatrains. The reason behind this is unknown. However, there are publications with more than 42 verses. Although these are written in the style of Nostradamus we can not be sure about their origin. ( However, note that the date signed under the Epistle is 1558, 58+42 = 100, a complete century. Does C-VII contain predictions for the 16th century ???)

  8. Question. Nostradamus refers to 3 Anti-Christs. Who are (were) they?

    Answer. It is commonly believed that the first two Anti-Christs were Napoleon and Hitler. The identity of the third Anti-Christ is not yet known. Some people believe that Saddam Hussien will be the 3AC. Many believe that the 3AC will come from the Mid-East. Others have argued that the 3AC will come from East Asia (China, Mongolia or Korea.) This is a common topic of discussion in the Nostradamus newsgroup.

  9. Question. Who is Mabus?

    Answer. Nostradamus makes one reference to a person (?) named "Mabus". In Century 2,62 Nostradamus states "Mabus then will soon die" ... many bad things will happen. Some people say that Mabus is the AntiChrist (or 3rd AC); however, this does not seem to be supported by C 2,62, which is the ONLY quatrain in which the name appears.

    There is a lot of discussion as to who Mabus is. Currently the best three guesses are Saddam, Rabin, or the current (early 1996) U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Raymond Mabus. Only time will tell if any of the aforementioned people are THE Mabus that Nostradamus refers to.

  10. Question. What did Nostradamus say about China?

    Answer. Very little or nothing. He does refer to the King of the Mongols, and to a King from beyond the Black Sea. Most of the discussion about China relates to a verse from the Bible that mentions an army of 200 Million.

  11. Question. I just read in the National Enquirer (World News, Globe, etc.) that Nostradamus predicted the outcome of the O.J.Simpson Trial (the end of the world; winning lotto number, etc.). Can you tell me if this is really a prediction from Nostradamus?

    Answer. Most of these are complete fabrications. Here are some giveaways:

    If you are interested in finding out about a particular verse or topic, post a notice to the USENET group, alt.prophesies.nostradamus. There, several hundred readers can help you find whether Nostradamus wrote it or not. It's OK if the article is complete tripe -- the posting will provide a good laugh. Most of us are too embarrassed to buy those tabloids in the supermarket.

    To search for a particular verse yourself when all you have is a "translation," do the following:

  12. Question. Why is this FAQ necessary? There is already a Nostradamus FAQ.

    Answer. The existing Nostradamus FAQs in various USENET archives have a good biography and offer some provocative interpretations. However, they are based heavily on the works of D.Cannon (DC), who claims to have contacted Nostradamus in the Other World by "hypnosis." While hypnosis may or may not have validity, people should be encouraged to read, translate and interpret Nostradamus for themselves.

  13. Question. If we know in advance that something bad is going to happen, can't we avoid it?

    Answer. Most of Nostradamus' prophesies are only understood in retrospect, that is, after the event has occurred. Few have been understood prior to the event.

    Some specific events have been predicted for the period 1996-1998 by astrological dating and by the sequence of Popes of the Catholic Church -- see the essay "At 45 Degrees the Sky will Burn" by Goro Adachi available on the internet (see below). Stay tuned to see if the future unfolds as Goro predicts. (This FAQ was written in early 1996).

  14. Question. Why are the quatrains so obscure ?

    Answer. Nostradamus explains that this was done to avoid persecution from the Inquisition. He also gives this as the reasong why the quatrains are not in chronological order.

    Another possible explanation for the obscurity of the quatrains has to do with the breadth of Nostradamus' visions. His visions seem to span thousands of years. It was proabably difficult for him to describe 20th and 21st century technology using 16th century French. Also, it is possible that a single quatrain could refer to several events. The incorporation of 'links' to several different events would further increase the obscurity of a quatrain.

    Some more reasons that Nostradamus' writings are difficult to understand and interpret include:

  15. Question. What language did Nostradamus use? Can people today understand what he meant?

    Answer. Nostradamus wrote primarily in "early Modern French," with an admixture of archaic words mostly derived from Latin and Greek. Early Modern French is approximately contemporaneous with Shakespearian English. He also incorporates words from the "Languedoc" or Provencal dialect of southern France. Readers who are familiar with Latin and modern French can often understand the original language, even if they have not studied early French or Provencal.

  16. Question. Where can I get a dictionary of 16-th century French?

    Answer. French dictionary of the period is provided by the University of Chicago's ARTFL Project. A link to it is available on: However, this is useful only if you already know French and Latin.

  17. Question. Do native speakers of French have an advantage in understanding Nostradamus' French compared with someone who has learned French out of a book?

    Answer. Yes, particularly in recognizing subtle nuances of meaning and in unscrambling the nonstandard word order. A good background in classical Latin, or one of the modern romance languages, is helpful in understanding the many words that differ from modern French.

  18. Question. I think that Nostradamus is balderdash. Most of his verses are so vague that it's no surprize that a few of them "hit" at random. There are over 1000 verses (Centuries + Sixains) plus the letters. By chance alone there are likely to be similarities with real events.

    Answer. Undoubtedly this sort of random similarity accounts for many of the "hits" that have been found by various interpreters. Verses that are extremely vague and ambiguous can be interpreted in many different ways. Unfortunately, most of Nostradamus' verses are of the vague and ambiguous persuasion. Thus, it is possible to find at least one verse that can be interpreted as almost any given event, provided that the interpretation is done after the event has already happened.

    Several verses appear to be so exact and accurate that it is difficult to believe that this is due to chance alone. See, for example, "Franco & Riviera" at jamesf's web site.

  19. Question. Why are intelligent people wasting their time on this stuff? Shouldn't they be out doing meaningful activites such as saving the whales, or something?

    Answer. Study of Nostradamus is an interesting intellectual exercise, even for skeptics. Some people with adequate grounding in French, Latin, and other languages find Nostradamus to be an interesting diversion. Many people enjoy reading the original words that Caesar, Dante and Chaucer wrote for the same reason.

    Some intelligent non-skeptics believe that the quatrains have some prophetic value. If it can be determined that Nostradamus has accurately predicted some events of the past 440 (appox.) years, then it makes sense that some people would use the quatrains as a tool for gaining insight on the future.

  20. Question. Where can I find a good biography of Nostradamus?

    Answer. The books of Erika Cheetham have good biographical material. These are readily available in university libraries and even in many bookstores. See also the other Nostradamus pages on the WWW and the USENET Nostradamus FAQ. (See below.)

  21. Question. Are there any other recommended books?

    Answer. E. Leoni, "Nostradamus and his Prophecies". Wings Books, New York. ISBN 0-517-38809X.

  22. Question. Who is DC? What is CWN?

    Answer. DC is Dolores Cannon. CWN is Conversations With Nostradamus. A three volume book written by DC. For more information see the question 12 above.

  23. Question. Who is GMS?

    Answer. GMS is Gordon-Michael Scallion. He has been on radio and TV. He produces a monthly newsletter called the Earth Changes Report. His prophecies are occasionally discussed/reviewed in this news group.

    The following are URLs where you can find out more about GMS.

  24. Question. Where can I find the Quatrains on the Internet?

    Answer. Marc Nijweide's page:
    Goro Adachi's Prophecy Page:

  25. Question: Are there any Nostradamus Web sites?

    Answer: Yes. Here are a few.