The september 1559 lunar Eclipse
Dr. Elmar R. Gruber has written a comprehensive comment on my articles about Les Significations de l’Eclipse du 16 septembre 1559.1 He qualifies the hypothesis that Les Significations… is not an authentic Nostradamian text, as wrong. In his comment, he frequently refers to the contents of the Prognostication for the year 1559 (the 1559-Progno-GB).2
In this reply, astrological data in Les Significations… are compared with astrological data regarding the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse in the 1559-Progno-GB and the 1559-Commentaires. Also, a comparison is made between astrological data in Les Significations… and Eclipsium omnium… The aim is to verify if Les Significations… is what people say it is: an authentic text, in which Nostradamus around August 1558, after finishing the 1559-Almanach-F and the 1559-Prono-F, wrote a rejoinder to his detractors, wrapped in predictions for an impending Lunar Eclipse. He copied these predictions from Eclipsium omnium… i.e. he translated these predictions from Latin into French, and elaborated them.
The time spans of Eclipses, prior to the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse
The 1559-Progno-GB is an English translation of the predictions for each month in the 1559-Almanach-F. Les Significations… is supposed to be written shortly after the completion in 1558 of the 1559-Almanach-F and the 1559-Prono-F. Gruber showed that the long time span and the pre-impact of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse are not unique features of Les Significations… Nostradamus discussed them already in several parts in the 1559-Progno-GB. Gruber concludes that Nostradamus determined the pre-impact and the long time span of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse in 1558. Therefore, a hypothesis about a revised time span, introduced by a forger on a later moment, would not be tenable.
Gruber also reports that Nostradamus was not consistent in his way of determining time spans of Eclipses, even though he knew the rules regarding this theme. From time to time, he took the liberty to surpass the licit realms of astrology, feeling to be a divinely inspired prophet, in this astrological matter and other ones. This implies that his determinations have gone this way or that way, without enabling searchers to examine their astrological fundaments. Gruber supposes that the death of two kings in the impact period is sheer coincidence.
Gruber’s hypothesis looks quite plausible. However, from a prediction point of view, there is too much coincidence. Is it sheer coincidence that in an impact-period, resulting from a non-astrological way of determination, a clear visibility of the impact of the Eclipse in June 1559 coincides with the lethal accident of Henry II ? Is it sheer coincidence that the end of this impact-period (the end of 1560) coincides with the decease of Francis II ?
The answer to these questions might be found in bibliographical data. The 1559-Progno-GB is a translation of the 1559-Almanach-F. This Almanach was completed before the writing of Les Significations… was started. The 1559-Almanach-F is an authentic Nostradamian text. If parts of this Almanach, such as the time span of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse, occur again in Les Significations…, there is no reason to doubt the authenticity of Les Significations…
More than once, however, research in the Nostradamian field has shown that bibliographical data are not always reliable. Other sources are also required to evaluate the Nostradamian character of the time span of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse.
To prove the Nostradamian character of the time span of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse, it is helpful to evaluate the origins of the Eclipse time spans, given by Nostradamus. The best method is to check the time spans of all treated Eclipses. If from the first treated Eclipse, the length of a significant number of time spans differs from what general rules imply, it is evident that Nostradamus used several ways of determination, whether or not by divine inspiration. If the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse turns out to be the first case in which the time span differs from what general rules imply, the objections towards the predictional value of this time span are not eliminated.
The sources, which are at my disposal (Chevignard’s Présages de Nostradamus and the 1559-Progno-GB), only permit a partial check, based upon Eclipses, mentioned by the name. The verified Eclipses occurred before the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse.
In the RPP-Commentaires regarding 1550, 1552 and 1553, no Eclipse is mentioned. This does not mean by definition that in these years no visible Eclipses occurred.
Regarding predictions for 1551, no data are available in the RPP-Commentaires.
Item #231 in the 1554-Commentaires deals with the December 1554 Lunar Eclipse.3 No pre-impact is mentioned. The length of the impact period is not given. The rest of the 1554-Commentaires does not give reason to suppose a length which is longer than average. In the rest, there is no reference to a pre-impact.
Items #360 and #361 in the 1555-Commentaires deal with the June 1555 Lunar Eclipse.4 No pre-impact is mentioned. The length of the impact period is not given. The rest of the 1555-Commentaires does not give reason to suppose a length which is longer than average. In the rest, there is no reference to a pre-impact.
Item #123 in the 1556-Commntaires deals with a Full Moon (pleine Lune), which brings peace.5 Leovitius, in his Eclipsium omnium…, classifies this Full Moon, occurring on November 11, 1556, as a Lunar Eclipse (Sun: 5 Sagittarius, Moon: 6 Gemini, Caput Draconis: 25 Taurus).
Item #153 in the 1556-Commntaires deals with a New Moon (nouvelle Lune) and another peaceful period.6 Leovitius classifies this New Moon as a Solar Eclipse (Sun and Moon: 20 Scorpio, Caput Draconis: 26 Taurus).
No Eclipse is mentioned for 1557. This is also the case in Eclipsium omnium… Leovitius explicitly writes that no Eclipses will be visible in 1557, meaning that they are below the Ascendant-Descendant axis for the meridian of Augsburg, Bavaria.
Items #79 and #80 in the 1558-Commentaires deal with the April 1558 Lunar Eclipse.7 In item #79, a short length of the impact period is mentioned:
L’eclipse lunaire qui est en cest endroit concerne la plus part les effect belliques, & selon aucuns pestilence & famine, & diversité de sectes, & le tout estre de petite durée.
The author of the RPP notes in the margin : Duration d’icelle selon la commune opinion. There is no reference to a pre-impact.
Item #80 seems to present an impact period until 1562 :
Mais selon les plus apparents & resoluz toutes telles calamitez durent jusques à l’an 1562…
The author of the RPP notes in the margin : Selon l’opinion de l’auteur. Entrée des troubles de 1562. Paix de 1563.
In the case of the April 1558 Lunar Eclipse, item #79 contains a determination of the time span according to general rules, whereas in item #80 the determination of the time span seems to be the result of another approach. Both items deal with the 1558-Almanach-F. In the 1558-Prono-F, the estimation of the impact period of the April 1558 Lunar Eclipse is quoted from book 2, chapter 7, of Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos, and even the precise location on the page is mentioned :
… comme afferme Ptolomée en son second livre du Quadripart.chap.7.au milieu…8
In the predictions, based upon the lunar phases, the impact period lasts four months :
Pleine Lune le.2.iourà12.heu32.mi à 15.deg.44.mi.de Libra, froide & feiche, avec vent, froidure, & encores quelques brouillas, eclipsee du tout presageant ce qu’est contenu, que à destension quatre moys.9
No pre-impact is mentioned.
In Eclipsium omnium…, not only the April 1558 Lunar Eclipse is treated, but also the April 1558 Solar Eclipse (Sun: 8 Taurus, Moon: 9 Taurus, Caput Draconis: 28 Aries). In the 1558-Prono-F, this Solar Eclipse is classified as an ordinary New Moon.10
It seems that the Lunar Eclipses in 1554 and 1555 have a normal impact period, calculated according to the rules of Ptolemy. This also goes for the April 1558 Lunar Eclipse in the 1558-Prono-F. The 1558-Almanach-F contains contradictory remarks, but the first remark clearly points to a normal impact period. In other words: chances are that the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse is the first one to have a serious deviation of the impact period, both in terms of pre-impact (6 months) and post-impact (15 months).
The time span in the 1559-Progno-GB
In the prediction for February 1559, an impact period of six months is mentioned, starting three months before September 16, 1559 :
And because that many miserable afflictions appeare to happen thre monethes before the Eclipse and thre monethes after, whiche shalbe the.16.of September, and continue three houres altogether Eclipsed and darkened…
This line contains a three-month pre-impact and a three-month impact after September 16, 1559. It contains a clear reference to the time determination system as developed by Ptolemy, by converting the number of hours of the Eclipse into months, counting from the date of the Eclipse.
The prediction for March 1559 contains a reference to a pre-impact of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse, starting around the end of March, but without a reference to a time system :
At the ende of this moneth shall many humayne monsters be borne. The prediction of the Eclypse of September shall woorke his wicked effectes at the ende of the same moneth, and of the moneth followynge…
The prediction for April 1559 seems to refer to a time system regarding the determination of the time span of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse :
… because it [the impact of the Eclipse] shalbe long and continue a good whyle as many monethes as howres in the.24.howres of the day…
This line can be interpreted as a reference to a 24-month length of the impact period of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse. An impact period of 21 months can not be derived from this line.
If this line must be related to the 3 hours and 24 minutes length of the Lunar Eclipse, given in the prediction for September 1559, it refers to Ptolemy’s time determination system. The result is a period of 102 days, counting from September 16, 1559, assumed that one month is estimated to be 30 days.
In the prediction for September 1559, there is a reference to a pre-impact, counting from March 1559, and to a three-month period after the Eclipse :
… presaging and declaring like thinges past in the moneth of Marche, and of the three moneths after the appearance of the same bycause that this Eclipse is very great by longitude and latitude for otherwyse it should not be an Eclipse, and this Eclipse by his significations, and by the same that was in the last yeare in the moneth of April, did portende miserable significations for a longe tyme…
It looks as if this line also contains a reference between to the time determination system as developed by Ptolemy. In this line, there is also a reference to the April 1558 Lunar Eclipse.
In the same prediction, it is stated that the impact of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse will last until the end of 1560 :
But what misery, calamitie and trouble is presaged and pronounced unto us in the rest of the yeare and almoste all the yeare.1560.and of the first three monethes of this present year…
One might derive that the first three months of 1559 are also included in the impact period. This would result in a pre-impact of nine months.
A part of the 1559-Commentaires, entitled D’un autre presage sur la mêsme année deals with the contents of the 1559-Prono-F. Item #342 in this part of the 1559-Commentaires deals with the impact of the Eclipse in the last months of 1559 and a part of 1560 :
Si dans les quatre parties de l’année adviennent aucunes estranges adventures, les fault attendre dans le revolu de ces trois mois, Septembre, Octobre, Novembre & la moitié de Decembre, par l’influence de l’Eclipse. Et puis ce qu’on attendra se prolongera pour quelque temps.11
This item refers to the quarterchart for autumn 1559. The time span of three months is related to the period September 13 - December 13, 1559, in which the Sun moves from the first degree of Libra to the first degree of Capricorn. There is no reference to Ptolemy’s time determination system, although once again a three-month period is mentioned. The September 1559 Lunar Eclipse occurred only three days after the ingress of the Sun in Libra.
Item #367 in this part of the 1559-Commentaires contains a reference to a pre-impact, counting from March 1559 :
Item #367: Tout ce mois [March] aura les effects des menaces faites par l’eclipse sequent, pource qu’il est diametralement oppose à Septembre.12
In this line, the beginning of the pre-impact seems to be related to the fact that the first degrees of Aries are across the first degrees of Libra, the solar sign of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse.
Item #368 contains a Latin line, dealing with events, occurring at the time of Lunar Eclipses, sometimes even before a Lunar Eclipse takes place :
Item #368: Eclipsium autem Lunarium quaedam tunc aut etiam ante quam eveniant, imbres adferunt, quaedam siccitatem, ventos aliae & terra motus, aliae sterilitatem, quaedam incendium [eclipse de lune: certaines, à ce moment-là ou même avant de se produire, apportent des pluies, certaines la sécheresse, d’autres des vents et des tremblements de terre, d’autres la stérilité, certaines des incendies]. Icy le tout n’est que fort à craindre & encores beaucoup plus le mois de Mars 1560.13
The Latin text implies that this line is quoted from another source (perhaps from a book by Albumasar, who is mentioned twice in the 1559-Progno-GB). The discovery of this source might shine more light on the way Nostradamus determined time spans. The quoted Latin text clearly refers to a pre-impact, but not to the length of such a pre-impact. It does not refer to the duration of the impact period after the Eclipse.
According to Les Significations…, the time span of the impact of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse runs from March 1559 until the end of 1560. The impact is clearly noticeable from June 1559 until the end of 1559.14 There are no references to Ptolemy’s time determination system. The elimination of all references to the Ptolemaic time system might have been the result of the elaboration of previous analysed data, as suggested in the introductory lines of Les Significations…
According to bibliographical data, the writing of Les Significations… started shortly after the completion of the 1559-Almanach-F and the 1559-Prono-F. The writing of Les Significations… was finished on August 14, 1558. The privilege for the 1559-Almanach-F was dated on October 7, 1558.15 Les Significations… contains a reply to some of Nostradamus’ critics. If the 1559-Almanach-F, the 1559-Prono-F and Les Significations… were printed around or after October 7, 1558, it would have been feasible for Nostradamus to rectify prediction data in the 1559-Almanach-F and the 1559-Prono-F, in order to prevent renewed attacks by his critics. It would be easy for them to demonstrate the inconsistency in the length of an impact period in three books.
Although it is written in both the 1559-Almanach-F and the 1559-Prono-F that the pre-impact of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse starts in March 1559 and that the impact ends at the end of 1560, there are many references to Polemy’s time determination system. In other words: there are many references to an impact of three months, counting from the date of the Eclipse. These references are quite concrete. It would have been logical, if the time span is 21 months, counting from March 1559, that the references to Ptolemy’s time determination system would have been deleted, especially since in Les Significations… the time span is defined to be 21 months, counting from March 1559. This did not happen.
A chart versus a chart
Gruber notes that incompatible astrological data occur throughout Almanachs, Pronostications and horoscopes made by Nostradamus. Therefore, he qualifies this phenomenon as Nostradamus’ trade-mark.
In Les Significations…, the incompatibility does not deal with times of lunar phases, but with two incompatible charts. In the introductory lines of Les Significations…, Mars is presented as being in the midst of heaven. This means that Mars is in the tenth house in a chart of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse. Mars is said to be in square with the Cauda Draconis, the South Lunar Node. According to software-data, this is correct. At the time of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse, Mars was on 6 Capricorn in 10, squaring the Cauda Draconis on 1 Libra.
A few lines further, Mars is mentioned as being in the eighth house, not far away from Antares. This remark is copied from the praedictio astrologica in Leovitius’ Eclipsium omnium… In the chart, calculated by Leovitius, Mars is on 8 Sagittarius in the eighth house. Antares is on 3 Sagittarius.
The incompatibility of the house positions of Mars is not caused by misreading the ephemeris, but by different charts: a calculated one, quoted in the first lines of Les Significations…, and data, copied from the Eclipsium omnium…
In Les Significations…, Leovitius’ remark about the Eclipse taking place on 2 Aries is also copied. Whoever mentions this, knows that one of the Lunar Nodes must be close to this position. According to the chart by Leovitius, Mars on 8 Sagittarius is not squaring the Cauda Draconis, but in sextile with it. A square, as given in the introductory lines, is simply impossible.
The question is if Nostradamus calculated a chart for the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse. The 1559-Progno-GB does not seem to contain clear traces of such a chart. In the 1559-Progno-GB, the given date and time of the Eclipse is: September 16, 1559, 5 of the clocke 17 minutes (17:17, counting from midnight). This time, 17:17, does not necessarily mean that a chart of the Eclipse has been calculated and interpreted while writing the predictions in the 1559-Progno-GB (calculations, based upon this time, result in an MC in Sagittarius, an Ascendant in Pisces and Mars on 6 Capricorn in 10). There are no references to house positions of the Sun, the Moon, the planets or the Lunar Nodes. There is also no reference to a ruler of the Eclipse, whereas in Les Significations…, Mars is said to be the ruler of the Eclipse.
In the 1559-Progno-GB, there is a reference to a Moon-Caput Draconis conjunction at the time of the Eclipse: the Full Mone […] Eclipsed in the head of the dragon. This is probably a conjunction with an orb of 1 degree of arc, based upon 29:50 Pisces, the noon lunar longitude on September 16, 1559, and 0:16 Aries, the noon longitude of the Caput Draconis. In the case of the April 2 1558 Lunar Eclipse, the given lunar longitude (15:44 Libra) is a noon lunar longitude. In the 1559-Progno-GB, the lunar longitudes, given for the Full Moon on January 23, 1559 and the First Quarter on June 12, 1559, are also noon lunar longitudes.
Item #409 in the 1559-Commentaires deals with a peaceful impact of Mars around the time of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse :
…Mars, par la radiation de Jupiter, fait signe d’assoupissement.16
This item quotes a line from the 1559-Prono-F. This line is a description of the impact of a sextile between Mars in Capricorn and Jupiter retrograde in Pisces. It shows that Nostradamus knew about the position of Mars in Capricorn at the time of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse. In the chart by Leovitius, Mars is supposed to be on 7 Sagittarius, thus squaring Jupiter retrograde. This does not fit to the Mars-Jupiter sextile in the 1559-Prono-F.
In the 1559-Progno-GB, a part of the prediction for September 1559 reads :
The first quarter the 8.day at 4.of the clocke with a coniunction of Mars nighe unto the retrogradation of Saturne in signo Geminorum…
According to software data, this First Quarter occurred on September 8, 1559, 15:23 True Local Time Venice. The Sun was on 25 Virgo, the Moon on 25 Sagittarius, Mars on 1 Capricorn, Saturn stationary. A zodiacal longitude of Mars on 7 Sagittarius, as supposed by Leovitius, does not fit to the remark about the zodiacal longitude of Mars, eight days before the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse, given in the 1559-Progno-GB.
In the 1559-Progno-GB, the sign position of Mars is also given in the prediction for October 1559. A part of this prediction reads :
The tyme shalbe given to rayne: but bycause of a quadrine aspecte of the Sunne unto Mars…
Software-data show that the New Moon on October 1, 1559, on 18 Libra, was in square with Mars on 15 Capricorn.
Next, the First Quarter is given at the 8.day at 7.of the clocke in the morning, ioyned to Mars in Capricorne, by another aspect of Iupiter occidental unto Venus… Software-data show that during this First Quarter, which took place at 6:17 True Local Time Venice, the Moon was on 25 Capricorn, conjunct Mars on 20 Capricorn, while Jupiter retrograde on 9 Pisces was in square with Venus on 11 Sagittarius.
In Les Significations…, astrological remarks by Leovitius are copied, based upon a chart with Mars on 8 Sagittarius in the eighth house. One of the themes of Leovitius is the affliction of Jupiter by Mars and Saturn, the two malefics. If one assumes that Nostradamus copied and elaborated the contents of the praedictio astrologica for the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse, one has to explain why, within three months after completing the 1559-Almanach-F and the 1559-Prono-F, he copied data about Mars (zodiacal longitude and aspects) which are incompatible with data, treated by himself in the 1559-Almanach-F and the 1559-Prono-F.
The first lines of Les Significations… imply an elaboration of the contents of the 1559-Almanach-F and the 1559-Prono-F regarding the predictions for the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse. In the 1559-Progno-GB, there are no clear traces of a chart for the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse. If Nostradamus is the author of Les Significations…, it is logical to assume he calculated the chart with Mars in the tenth house, squaring the Cauda Draconis. The elaboration of the impact of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse, however, contains incompatible data regarding Mars, copied from Eclipsium omnium… These data are incompatible with the chart, in which Mars is in the tenth house. The question is if it is reasonable to assume that Nostradamus, after calculating and quoting a chart with Mars in the tenth house, putted this chart aside and simply translated and elaborated remarks in the Eclipsium omnium…, without noticing their discrepancies with his own data. This goes beyond all logic. It does not match with the assumed preparation process.
The time span between the completion of the 1559-Almanach-F and the completion of Les Significations… is four months, provided the 1559-Almanach-F was finished on April 27, 1558, as the faciebat in the 1559-Progno-GB indicates. According to the 1559-Progno-GB, the prediction for September 1559 is written in May 1558. If this is true, this reduces the difference between the completion of the 1559-Almanach-F and Les Significations… to three months. A period of three or four months does not seem long enough to forget all about previously treated data about Mars around the time of the Lunar Eclipse in the 1559-Almanach-F and the 1559-Prono-F, especially not since the text of the praedictio astrologica for 1559 was not copied, but translated from Latin into French. It is almost impossible that during translation the incompatibility of the contents of the praedictio astrologica for 1559 with data, which Nostradamus already treated in the 1559-Almanach-F and the 1559-Prono-F, remained unnoticed.
The Eclipsium omnium…
The general assumption is that in Les Significations…, Nostradamus copied the praedictio astrologica for 1559 from Eclipsium omnium… Gruber argues this by referring to Brind’Amour, who scrutinized the letter to Cesar and named a number of source texts.17 However, plagiarism does not necessarily point out who is the author of the book which contains the copied lines. One should remember also that Les Significations… is not a case of including the Latin text of the praedictio astrologica for 1559, but a case of translating the Latin text into French.
It is interesting to examine to what extent the contents of the praedictio astrologica for 1559 and the Eclipsium omnium… in general fit to the astrological facts in authentic Nostradamian texts.
According to its bibliographical data, Eclipsium omnium… was completed on March 27, 1556. The privilege was granted on June 25, 1556. It is only after June 25, 1556, that Nostradamus could have laid hands on Eclipsium omnium…
The next table contains some Eclipse data, given by Leovitius and Nostradamus :
|Date / time||Eclipse||Moon||Date / time||Eclipse||Moon|
|1556-11-01, 18:26||Solar||19:02:20 Sc||n.a. (not available)||New Moon||n.a.|
|1556-11-16, 14:43||Lunar||05:01:14 Ge||n.a.||Full Moon||n.a.|
|1558-04-02, 13:01||Lunar||22:44:13 Li||1558-04-02, 12:32||Lunar||15:44 Li|
|1558-04-18, 02:23||Solar||08:08:41 Ta||1558-04-18, 01:12||New Moon||06:55 Ta|
|1559-09-16, 05:56||Lunar||02:37:14 Ar||1559-09-16, 05:17||Lunar||n.a.|
Leovitius and Nostradamus both count from noon (12:00) to noon. For example, the Solar Eclipse of November 1, 1556, actually occurred on November 2, etc.
The differences between the time moments is caused by the fact that Leovitius calculated charts for the meridian of Augsburg, Bavaria, whereas Nostradamus probably copied time moments from Italian ephemeredes.
Leovitius gives lunar longitudes at the time of an Eclipse, with an accuracy of seconds of arc. Nostradamus gives noon lunar longitudes, with an accuracy of minutes of arc.
In three cases, Nostradamus comes to a different classification than Leovitius. He classifies the November 1556 Solar Eclipse as a New Moon, the November 1556 Lunar Eclipse as a Full Moon and the April 1558 Solar Eclipse as a New Moon.
This table clearly shows that Nostradamus did not copy Eclipse data from Eclipsium omnium…In his brief essay about the way Nostradamus applied astrology, Brind’Amour in his turn did not mention data in Eclipsium omnium… as source data regarding Eclipses in 1566.18
The page in Eclipsium omnium… on which the chapter regarding the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse begins, opens with the headline of the predictions, based on the April 1558 Solar Eclipse :
PRAEDICTIO ASTROLOGICA AD ANNUM domini 1559.sub cuius tempore effectus eclipsis Solaris graffabuntur, quae anno domini 1558.die18. Aprilis fiet.
In the 1558-Prono-F, Nostradamus classifies this April 1558 Solar Eclipse as an ordinary New Moon. In the predictions for September 1559 in the 1559-Progno-GB, he reflects on what happened during the April 2 1558 Lunar Eclipse. In the 1559-Progno-GB, there is no reflection on the impact of the April 18 1558 Solar Eclipse.
Gruber reports that in the 1561-Almanach-F, Nostradamus refers to previous equinoctial eclipses. This is correct, since Nostradamus treated the April 1558 Lunar Eclipse (Sun: 23 Aries, Moon, 23 Libra), the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse (Sun: 3 Libra, Moon: 3 Aries) and the March 1560 Lunar Eclipse (Sun: 2 Aries, Moon: 2 Libra). This clearly shows that Nostradamus knew what he was talking about and knew the data, which he used in the past years.
If Nostradamus had Eclipsium omnium… at his disposal in 1558, he surely would have noticed that the page, from which he translated, contained a full prediction for an April 1558 Solar Eclipse which he had not discussed while writing his predictions for 1558. He also did not reflect on this Eclipse while writing his predictions for 1559. It would have been very easy for his critics to launch a renewed attack if they found out that parts of Les Significations… were translated from Eclipsium omnium…They could show easily that at least three Eclipses, treated by Leovitius, were not treated by Nostradamus, especially the April 1558 Solar Eclipse. In other words, using Eclipsium omnium… as a package for a reply to his critics, would not help Nostradamus to refute their findings. On the contrary, these critics instantly would have new arguments to disqualify Nostradamus as an astrologer.
The role of De Chavigny
In the 1559-Almanach-F and the 1559-Prono-F, a time span of 21 months is discussed. Gruber, who attributes this time span to Nostradamus, says that it was Nostradamus who invented it, not De Chavigny. This, however, does not mean automatically that De Chavigny is not involved in the compilation of Les Significations…
As explained in one of my essays about the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse, a couple of quotations from Les Significations… in the 1559-Commentaires are not according to the French translation as published in Les Significations…, but according to a literal translation of the Latin text in the praedictio astrologica for 1559. This might mean that De Chavigny had a copy of Eclipsium omnium… at his disposal.19
A typical De Chavigny feature is the abbreviation H.T.H.N.S.20 Next, De Chavigny was preoccupied with proving in every possible way that Nostradamus predicted the circumstances of the decease of Henry II in July 1559. In the Brief Discours…, the biographical part of Ianus Gallicus, it is only this event only to which De Chavigny alludes. The decease of Henry II (and the decease of Francis II) are interpreted by De Chavigny as an omen of the religious wars which would start in 1562. The September 1559 Lunar Eclipse is a classical symbol for such events. It is not impossible that De Chavigny partially revised the astrological contents of Les Significations…, related to the predictions, meaning he translated and elaborated the i.e. added and elaborated the praedictio astrologica for 1559.
Summary and conclusions
Les Significations…is supposed to be completed on August 14, 1558, shortly after the completion of the 1559-Almanach-F and the 1559-Prono-F. On the one hand, it is presented as an elaboration of predictions regarding the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse, discussed in both the 1559-Almanach-F and the 1559-Prono-F. On the other hand, it also contains a reply to detractors, especially to Hercules le François.
It was Torné-Chavigny who first discovered that parts of Leovitius’ Eclipsium omnium… were included. i.e. the praedictio astrologica for 1559 It has been said that Nostradamus used the praedictio astrologica for 1559 as a kind of wrapping of a reply to his critics and it has been assumed that he acted like this, in order to have his rejoinder published as soon as possible.
In this essay, the compatibility of the astrological contents of Les Significations… with other Nostradamian publications has been verified. The results can be listed as follows :
1 - The reliability of the impact period of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse remains questionable, even in the case of the 1559-Almanach-F and the 1559-Prono-F. Chances are that the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse is the first case in the series of Eclipses, treated by Nostradamus, in which there is a serious deviation of the impact period, compared with Ptolemy’s time determination system. If this possibility is confirmed by further investigation, the supposed length of the impact period is highly suspect.
2 - In Les Significations…, the impact period of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse is 21 months, whereas in the 1559-Almanach-F and the 1559-Prono-F there are also many references to Ptolemy’s time determination system. It is not clear why Nostradamus, if he is the author of Les Significations…, did not revise the 1559-Almanach-F and the 1559-Prono-F regarding this matter. According to the bibliographical data, all three books were completed close enough to each other to enforce a rectification. Since Les Significations… is supposed to be a reply to critics, such a rectifications would have been normal and inevitable. Otherwise, any critic would have a new reason to disqualify Nostradamus as an astrologer: inconsistent time spans in the case of one subject.
3 - In Les Significations…, two incompatible charts are at stake. The introductory lines in Les Significations… refer to a chart of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse, in which Mars is in the tenth house, in square with the Cauda Draconis. These data are confirmed by software-data. In the second chart, originally calculated by Leovitius, Mars is presented as being in the eighth house, close to Antares. These data are not compatible.
It is possible that Nostradamus made a chart for the Eclipse with Mars in the tenth house, in square with the Cauda Draconis. But a few lines later, he would have dropped this chart in favour of remarks, copied from Leovitius praedictio astrologica for 1559. The simultaneous use of these incompatible sources has been characterized as a feature of Nostradamus’ way of practicing astrology. The presented material in this essay, however, shows something else. In the 1559-Progno-GB and the 1559-Prono-F, Mars is presented correctly around the time of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse. In the 1561-Almanach-F, Nostradamus correctly referred to the three previous equinoctial eclipses he treated in the past. The praedictio astrologica for 1559 is written in Latin; in Les Significations… it was translated into French. Nostradamus, supposed he is the author of Les Significations…, impossibly could have overlooked the incompatible data regarding Mars, which he treated correctly a couple of months before the writing of Les Significations…
4 - Regarding the use of Eclipsium omnium…: the differences in Eclipse data (time, lunar longitude) imply that Nostradamus did not copy these data from Eclipsium omnium…The page in Eclipsium omnium, which contains the predictions for the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse, opens with the predictions for the April 1558 Solar Eclipse, an Eclipse which Nostradamus did not discuss at all.
The results of these comparisons show that many irrational elements are present: different time spans, incompatible charts, the presence of a book (Eclipsium omnium…), which contents are not helpful in defending Nostradamus to his critics, rectifications that were not done (but necessary) and a time span, suspect because of its matching with history.
These findings make the authentic character of Les Significations… highly questionable. There is a chart with Mars in the tenth house, which might very well be authentic, although there are no traces in the 1559-Progno-GB and the 1559-Commentaires of an Eclipse chart, made by Nostradamus. The reply to critics might also very well be authentic. This leaves the translation and inclusion of the praedictio astrologica for 1559. It looks as if someone has decided to replace the original explanation, based on the chart with Mars in the tenth house, by the praedictio astrologica for 1559, without realizing the incompatibility of two charts.
Like this, these findings support the ideas of dr. Halbronn regarding the compilation of Les Significations…21
T. W. M. van Berkel
De Meern, November 20, 2003
- R. Benazra : Répertoire chronologique Nostradamique, Paris, 1990.
- P. Brind’Amour : L’astrologie de Nostradamus, 1993, C.U.R.A.
- P. Brind’Amour : Les premières Centuries ou Prophéties, Genève, 1996.
- B. Chevignard : Présages de Nostradamus, Saint-Amand, 1999.
- M. Nostradamus : The prognostication of maister Michael Nostredamus…1559.
1 Gruber: The Significance of Les Significations : Authentic Nostradamian Text or Fake ? ; Van Berkel: Astrological traces of forgery in Les Significations de l’Eclipse du 16 Septembre 1559 and Les Significations de l'Eclipse : its origin, its disqualification Retour
2 The abbreviation of titles contain: (1) the year, (2) the kind of predictions (Almanach ; Prono : Pronostication ; Progno : Prognostication ; Commentaires : book 1-4 of the Recueil des Présages Prosaïques (RPP) ; (3) the country of issue (F: France, GB: England, I: Italy). The 1559-Progno-GB is a translation of the predictions for each month in the 1559-Almanach-F. The 1559-Almanacke-GB and the 1559-Progno-GB are translated from the 1559-Almanach-F. The 1559-Progno-GB is not the translation of the 1559-Prono-F, despite the word prognostication in the title. Retour
3 Chevignard, p. 217. Retour
4 Chevignard, p. 233. Retour
5 Chevignard, p. 264. This part of the 1556-Commentaires deals with the 1556-Almanach-F. Retour
6 Chevignard, p. 267. This part of the 1556-Commentaires deals with the 1556-Prono-F. Retour
7 Chevignard, p. 297. Retour
8 Chevignard, p. 428. See also Ptolemy, p. 91. Retour
9 Chevignard, p. 439. Retour
10 Chevignard, p. 439. Retour
11 Chevignard, p. 365. Retour
12 Chevignard, p. 368. Retour
13 Chevignard, p. 368. Retour
14 Chevignard, p. 447 - 448. Retour
15 Benazra, p. 29. Retour
16 Chevignard, p. 373. Retour
17 Brind’Amour, 1996. Retour
18 Brind’Amour, 1993. Retour
19 Van Berkel : Les Significations de l’Eclipse : its origin, its disqualification. Retour
20 Chevignard, p. 452. Retour
21 Halbronn : La fortune des emprunts à Leovitius dans les deux épitres Nostradamiques de 1558. Retour
Tous droits réservés © 2003 T. W. M. van Berkel