1555 Lyon Bonhomme

D’vn nom farouche tel proseré sera,
Que les troys seurs auront fato le nom:
Puis grand peuple par langue & faict duira
Plus que nul autre aura bruit & renom.

He will be presented with an ‘outside’ name,
That the three sisters will have as by fate:
Then he will lead a great people by his language and inspiring deeds,
He will have a renown and repute exceeded by no other.

Line 1. OF ‘farouche’ is wild as in ‘wild beast’ or ‘wild flower’. It is also close to the word ‘farrago’ meaning a confused mixture such as the riot of colours in an unplanned garden, a medley of disparate characters huggermugging spontaneously. Otherwise, a ‘nom farouche’ could be a name interdicted from outside of a neatly centred group. (OF-Latin ‘faroche’ was from ‘forasticus’, belonging outside.) Farouche can also mean fierce or unsociable or even to be withdrawn in a charmingly cranky way or otherwise timid or terrible, savage or shy.

I have proposed ‘presented’ for ‘proseré’ but I guess it could as much mean ‘promoted’. (As it happens, ‘sérer’ indicates a Senegalese-Guinean ethnic group of the Thies-Gambia hinterlands whilst OF ‘serrer’ meant closed in, not excluding ‘hugged’ or ‘oppressed’.)

Line 2, OF ‘fato’ might be OF ‘fader’, to dwindle, or even the deficient ‘fauter’ or ‘faute’. But none of that works so well as the Latin ‘fato’, by fate, a fated name. (In ‘La premiere face du Ianus’ by Chavigny ‘fato’ is written ‘F A T O’ and in Nostradamus the capitalization of a word like this is widely held to denote an anagram of a proper noun. But Chavigny was the first to publish ‘F A T O’ in this way. It is not in the early editions of Nostradamus.)

At the end of the Tenth Century the OF for three was ‘tres’ as in ‘les tres femmes’ but by 1550 it was ‘trois’ as in ‘Les trois Graces’ in Ronsard’s Odes. Even so, the spelling ‘troys’ is sensible as OF quite casually substitutes any ‘i’ with ‘y’ and so this spelling manages to suggest Troy at the same time. The three sisters are possibly the Three Female Fates of Greek mythology. Or possibly the Three Female Noms of Destiny in Norse mythology (who attended on newborn children establishing their destinies) or else some fantastical farrago or even three real sisters. These sisters seem to have received his name direct from someone and so it is not given him by his parents, it seems, as we might have presumed. Nom was also a poetic Norse name for any mortal woman with ‘Noms’ attributes (malific or benevolent, including on the global scale).

Figuratively, OF ‘bruit’, clamour, is ‘renommée’, renown. We can call ‘renom’ repute.

OF ‘faict duira’ might be a lost idiomatic expression. Old Occitan ‘durar’ was to endure. Otherwise, OF ‘faict’ was deed and OF ‘duira’ was to apprise somebody of something (Vulgar Latin, ‘docere’) or else this is the future tense of OF ‘duire’ to reduce.

A historic possibility for ‘nom farouche’ was the highly popular Farouk I of Egypt (d.1965) whose roots were mixed and yet he was felt by his people to be the first native Egyptian to be their monarch in modern times. He was also the first monarch to address his people over the radio (at age 16). His first wife was renamed Farida upon marriage and they had three daughters.

A mythological possibility for ‘nom farouche’ could be Ogmios the legendary Celtic orator (the namesake for a future player who appears in Nostradamus as Ogmion, mainly). He was said to hold the ears of the people by golden chains from his mouth.

A French leader with a ‘nom farouche’ was the President Nicolas nagybócsai Sárközy. (In French this is Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa with the acute accents dropped to allow for modern French keyboards and the trema is dropped in English for the same reason.)

Barack Hussein Obama Jr. is named for Barack Hussein Obama Sr., born Barak Obama, who changed his first name to Barack as it seemed more Biblical and then added Hussein because it seemed more Islamic. Truly this name is ‘nom farouche’ to many a Western European but names in the USA are so often sourced from around the world that is does not misfit so much in the USA (except possibly in the case of a President as so many US Presidents before him have had names originating from the British Isles).

This would appear to be a person whose name does not fit well to his own culture or, more likely, with a name that would have sounded wildly foreign to the Sixteenth Century citizens of France and the Romance lands.

(Also see the Article Au Sujet De L’Homme Nice and the Nostradamus Quatrain I 96 This Is Him)


Nigel Raymond Offord © 2012