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Nostradamus : The Man Who Knew Tomorrow There once was a man who could not be confined to his own time.

Michel Notredame, known to us as Nostradamus. French astrologer and physician , the most widely read seer of the Renaissance . He began making prophecies about 1547 , which he published in 1555 in a book entitled Centuries . His prophecies have continued to create much controversy . some of them are thought to have foretold actual historical events that have occurred since Nostradamus.

Nostradamus was born December 14, 1503 , at Sait - Re`my - de - Provence . His Jewish family had only recently converted to the Catholic faith , and in compliance with local law , changed their name from Gassonet to Notredame . If they didn't do this they would have been forced to leave the Provence and their property behind .

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Michel was an excellent student , he attended school in Avignon and then at the University of Montpellier . At 22 after graduating he followed the custom of other contemporary scholars and Latinized his name so that it became Nostradamus instead of Notredame . Four years later , after completing medical studies that made him a physician , he assumed another entitled affection : the special four - cornered hat served the same identifying purpose in those days as the initials M.D. serve today .

Nostradamus made his reputation as a doctor of extraordinary skill who gave generously to the poor . His grandfather Pierre had also worked as a physician , because that was one of the only professions open to Jews at this time . Nostradamus was said to possess an uncanny ability to help victims of the plague recover their health . Some modern interpeters believe he had knowledge of infection control far ahead of his time and only pretended to use herbal remedies to avoid trouble with the authorities , who would have had him burned at the stake for practicing magic . The plague took the lives of his own wife and two young children in 1537 while he was ministering to his patients on the countryside . He later remarried and raised another family of three sons and three daughters . Companions report that Noatradamus worked hard and slept little , having good health until his later years , when suffered attacks of gout . He died at age 63 of heart failure , in his sleep , about a year short of the date he predicted for his own death .

Because he was already famous during his lifetime , much of what we know about Nostradamus is the stuff of legend . A favorite story describes the time he fell to his knees in the mud before a simple Francisan monk , Brother Felice Ferretti . Nostradamus kissed the young man's robes , explaining afterward that he was merely paying proper homage to the pope . Peretti later became Pope Sixtus V - in 1585 , nineteen years after Nostradamus died .

In 1550 , following two decades of medical practice , Nostradamus published the first of his annual almanacs . This book , and 15 more like it combined readily predictable information , such as the timing of the phases of the moon , with insights about coming events that rested on extensive knowledge of astrology .

Having launched a second successful career as a published author , Nostradamus also wrote a practical book about home remedies and cosmetics . But he is best remembered for his series of prophetic poems called Centuries , published between 1555 and 1558 . These thousand obscure verses , each cosisting of a quatrain , read like a cross between liturgy and riddle .

Nostradamus named the end of the world , depending on the chosen starting point , so that Armageddon arrives in the year 2000 or later , in 3797 .

No other prophet since Biblical times has held as constant a place in peoples heart and mind as Nostradamus . Whether by his future vision or the dreamlike imagery of his verses he has literally triumphed over time .