1555 Lyon Bonhomme

Chassés seront sans faire long combat
Par le pays seront plus fort greués:
Bourg & cité auront plus grand debat,
Carcas.Narbonne auront cueurs esprouués.

Driven-out without a long struggle
Through the country will be the deeper grievances:
Town and city will have the greatest conflicts of opinion,
Carcassonne-Narbonne having their hearts improved.

Avignon, Beziers, Carcassonne, Montpellier, Narbonne, Nimes, Catalan-styled Perpignan and the bigger Toulouse are the main cities of the Languedoc.

The Lines:

(1) I’m thinking that it was anti-Jewish sentiments that were easily overcome by the protective laws of the Papal Territories of Avignon and Comte de Venaicin whereas (2) these ran high in the surrounding lands of the Kingdom of France, especially in (3) the built-up areas where Jews were frequently ghettoed and marked out before Michel’s happier days. (4) Nostredame informs us that those living in the adjacent communities of Carcassonne and Narbonne had their morales uplifted somewhat and this fits to the good news of 1063 when Winfred, Archbishop of Narbonne, issued a defence of the Jews and the Viscount of Narbonne suitably protected them. (‘The Apostolic See and the Jews’ by Shlomo Simonsohn)

Beautiful but Mistral-blown Avignon seems to exercise a strong religious influence on all who live there, such as master composer Olivier Messiaen. It was a location that, before the decline of Catholic power, was always emanating intrigues. The Avignon Council of 1209 even took it upon themselves to excommunicate all the faithful of Toulouse. Philip the Fair, King of France, picked up Avignon after local ruler Alphonse Poytier died but immediately passed it on, unfairly milching it as his tax-cow whenever floodwater had blurred the boundary with the King’s lands. (A blurred boundary features in the Nostradamus Quatrain VIII 91 in the Article STORED UP IN THE NORTH WIND)

‘Carcassone and Narbonne’ may even have had personal significance to Michel Nostredame who was Christian on his mother’s side and Jewish on his father’s side (so not officially a Jew according to matrilineal Judaism). Perhaps the Schism sometimes brought security worries at Avignon or elsewhere to Jewish families. I can imagine that happening as the governance of the Papal Territories seemed periodically to move closer to the French Kingdom. At Bourdeaux, the incoming ‘Stranger Jews’ were being absorbed automatically by local officialdom as ‘New Christians’ without keeping any record of their Judaism, i.e. whether they liked it or not. (It happens that the jumbled letters of ‘Bourdeloys’ and ‘Borderlays’, old spellings of Bourdeaux, are available from Lines 2 and 3 of this Nostradamus Quatrain I 5.)

The French conspiracy theorist Antoine Crespin (“l’astrologue du treschrestien Roy de France & de Madame la Duchesse de Savoye”) who oddly named himself either Nostradamus or Archidamus at different times wrote this aggressive piece; “Let us recognize that for he who holds the temporal as well as spiritual beneficence of being Count d’Avignon, there are seven or eight years from this ‘baptism’ before giving equivalence to the tenets and laws of the execrable Disguised Jews/New Christians and that this is why the people are being misled”.

The papacy went through a harrowing period when several conflicting challenges were laid down for the cherished calling come plum post of Pope. Each dispute was thoroughly internationalized. Avignon – both a city and a small independent County secure within the other Papal County of Comtat-Venaicin that all but enclosed it – had for years been preferred by many to Rome as the Holy Seat. The declared papal non-incumbents of Rome became known as the Antipopes or Black Popes and most of these were seated at Avignon. Strong opinions were held but no serious wars were ever fought. France, of course, favoured the Avignon Antipopes as did many member countries of Western Europe’s Holy Roman Empire. The end resolution was the result of political decision-making and some politically inspired ill-feeling towards corruption at Avignon. Pope Gregory XI at Rome emerged in 1378 as the sole Church pontiff and these schisms came to an end.

This historical quatrain seems to lack any specific prediction by Michel Nostredame other than reflecting the reversals that would continue to afflict many Jews of  Spanish descent in the Kingdom of France, especially ‘greater Provence’, and the sometime contrast with Carcassonne and Narbonne as well as the easier-going and tax-free Papal Avignon. (As it happens, the jumbled letters of Avignon/Avignoun may be extracted from the second couplet.)

                                                        Nigel Raymond Offord © 2012