Epistle to Henry II
TO THE MOST INVINCIBLE MOST POWERFUL AND MOST CHRISTIAN HENRY, KING OF
FRANCE THE SECOND: MICHEL NOSTRADAMUS, 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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"
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
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 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.
Done by Michel Nostradamus at Salon-de-Crau in Provence.