III 90 THE HYRCAN TIGER
(plus an investigation of Nostradamus Quatrain III 23)
1555 Lyon Bonhomme
Le grand Satyre & Tigre de Hyrcanie,
Don presente à ceux de l’Ocean:
Le chef de classe istra de Carmanie
Qui prendra terre au Tyrren Phocean.
A Tenuous First Translation:
The great Satyr and Tiger of Hyrcania,
(OR The splendid fauna of Hyrcania,)
A gift given to those of the Faith:
(OR From the one present to those of the Hyrcanian Ocean:)
The commander who is issue of Carmania
(OR The admiral of the Carmanian fleet)
Who will land at the ‘Tyrren Phocean’.
(OR Who will raid Marseilles.)
One of the worst problems in translating this and Nostradamus Quatrain X 31 TOWERING UNDER is the general location of ill-defined Carmania and neighbouring Hyrcania both as of now and back then.
Line 1, OF ‘Satyre’ from mythology is a hybrid creature with goat’s feet, a satyr, but it was also Medieval bestiary terminology for a monkey or an ape. (The link probably being in the Biblical ‘satyr’ a transliteration from the Hebrew word for ‘the hairy ones’). The Hebrew language was almost certainly known to Michel de Nostredame. It uses metathesis in its grammar, I believe, and this juxtapositioning plus anagrammatical skills could make it a short step from OF ‘Satyre’ to OF ‘Satrape’, a masculine noun which might conceivably have had a local spelling ‘Satrapie’ or ‘Satrapy’ which would bring it close in letters to the enigmatic ‘Satyre’. It meant either a powerful and despotic character or any governor of a province or satrap of the ancient Persian Empire.
OF ‘Tigre de Hyrcanie’ was a tiger from the then tiger-abundant land of Hyrcania. The ‘hyrcanian tiger’ was, in literature such as Virgil’s Aenid, a watchword for ferocity. Even in Shakespeare the Hyrcan tiger is an emblem of bloody cruelty. Hyrcanian soldiers were part of the great army which Xerxes I (d.465BC) commanded against the Greeks. (See note on ‘Atila and Zerxes’ in the EPISTLE TO THE KING and also in the Article SOME NAMES AND NOUNS IN NOSTRADAMUS)
In its broadest sense Hyrcania was the long and wide portion of the lowlands below the Caspian Sea, the largest lake in the world, and was a fabulously fruitful land coveted by neighbouring princes but this name Hyrcania could also represent the narrow ‘land of wolves’, dependent upon context. It was a satrapy with a palace for its capital.
Line 2, OF ‘Don’ as well as being a major Russian river emptying into the Sea of Azov was a substantive derived from ‘donum’ with differing meanings (a gift, an act of generous liberality, a donation, a favour, a worship offering, an able faculty, a layout for something, a gift from God, virtuosity) or else the action of giving and its benefits. (Should there have been a printer’s error here this might even have been intended as ‘D’on’, meaning From, Of or On and so ‘From the one present to those of the Ocean’.) Both as a substantive and a verb ‘don’ will equate to or permutate with OF ‘présent’ which leads us to the next word in Line 2.
OF ‘present/présent’ from ‘praesentare’ is the action of presenting something or, from praesens. that which is or has been offered. It can also indicate who is at a place, who is where, who is there, who is here or ‘as we speak’, currently. It could also mean at the moment of speaking or two people speaking.
In Nostradamus, OF ‘Ocean’ seems sometimes to refer to Islam or another Abrahamic religion but there had been nomadic raiders called the Sea People around the Eastern Mediterranean as well as Plato’s legend of Atlantis, a lost island in the Atlantic, and Hyrcanian Ocean was an ancient name for the Caspian Sea.
Line 3, OF ‘Le chef de classe’ would normally mean the leader or head although the meaning of ‘classe’ was first taken from the Latin for the divisions alloted to the citizenry of Rome whilst arriving at the census. It has been also been used by various Nostradamus researchers before me to mean a fleet of ships. But in the Achaemenid era, one ‘upper satrapy’ or another might quite possibly have found itself effectively blocked from salt waters or from Carmania could have been blocked from the great lake of the Caspian/the Hycernian Ocean . This would not preclude any admiral born a Carmanian.
OF ‘istra’ is sometimes translated as Istra (a common district name in Eurasia and the name for two rivers, one in Russia the other in Norway) but it was actually a verb tense of OF ‘issir’, literally to come out of something, withdraw or be born (issue) or stand apart (perhaps exit).
OF ‘Carmanie’ was the land of the Carmanians or Kermans to the South-East of Media and South of the Caspian, North of the Arabian Sea.
Line 4, OF ‘prendra terre’ meant to take to the land, to go ashore, make footfall, land somewhere .
Although OF ‘terre’ or land often had a geo-oppositional meaning, such as Heaven and Earth or Land and Sea, it could be used to mean a unified group cultural identity as much as the limitations of a space. It had secondary meanings – likely acquired from the Latin ‘terere’, a grinder or user – OF ‘terrer’ meaning either a tool of terror or simply to construct from soil, sand and mud.
OF ‘Tyrren’ was possibly linked to ‘terre’ much like ‘Mediterranean’ or to ‘tyren’ as in ‘bull’ (Germaine of Foix had two bulls on her coat of arms) and one of the translations of the (sonically dissimilar) OF ‘tyran’ is ‘Tartar’. ‘Tyrren Phocean’ was a name given to Marseilles because Phocaeans had permanently relocated there in times past.
The first line “Le grand Satyre & Tigre de Hyrcanie” contains broken pieces of the placename ‘Zadracarta’, the capital and royal palace of Hyrcania’s grand Satrap (and is in full once we will allow the ‘&’ to be a wild card representing the letter ‘a’ and an ‘S’ to double for the letter ‘Z’, as was often done).
Loaded with inferences of the historical past this Nostradamus Quatrain III 90 might well be retrospective prophecy (meaning to reveal hitherto hidden or unknown facts of historical significance from a dream or vision) but the last line tells us that Nostredame’s big clue had not yet happened when he published the piece.
Looking forward from Nostredame’s time, this quatrain has already been tenuously applied to many events including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Iraq-Iran War and the Iranian revolution (see the Nostradamus Quatrain II 36 TIM WHO?) However, I think this could still be a future prophecy yet possibly relevant to these times. Here are some options:
Scenario One: An admiral-commander from the region of Carmania who will work for the Satrap of Hyrcania and effect control of the the whole Caspian is identified by the second couplet:
The great cloven Satrap and the ferocious one of Hyrcania,
A presence imposed upon those surrounding the Hyrcanian Ocean:
That admiral who is issue of Carmania
Who will land at Marseilles.
Hyrcania was a satrap or province and a ‘buffer state’ of Persia (Iran) which kept the inner Asian tribes from invading. The lofty but relatively narrow Alborz mountain range skirts the Caspian, shouldering lush Hyrcania to its East and Tehran and the Iranian plateau to its West. Rather symbolically, a monkey or a mountain goat and a tiger are given as a gift. (A lurching tiger – they can leap straight on their prey and then lurch to the side of the neck in order to kill – that can spring over the mountains?)
The splendid fauna of Hyrcania,
A gift given to those of the Faith:
The commander from Carmania
Who will raid Marseilles.
Scenario Two: The Straits of Hormuz map beneath Carmania. They are under Iranian jurisdiction but currently are scouted heavily by the US Navy (see the Nostradamus Quatrain II 62 MABUS BY NAME) and are globally pivotal in more than one strategic sense, in particular militarily and economically because it is an easily-closed oil route and yet the most important in the world. Of course the universal role of oil could become challenged by technology and the major oil companies may yet reinvent themselves accordingly but for the time being this is the dangerous logistic position we are in as a planet. It seems some group is hell bent on attacking Iran (see Watch Out World part 3) who have threatened publicly a counter-attack of more than one hundred thousand missiles against Israel or NATO or whoever pre-empts them. (Turks be careful – see the Nostradamus Quatrain III 31 IRAN ARABIA ARMENIA AND TURKEY)
The faithful yet fearful divided leadership of Iran,
With its gifts to those of their gripping religion:
Plus the military leadership at Hormuz
Will move to invade the Ligurian Coast/Marseilles.
And if the French should sail out to encounter the (once British-trained!) Iranian Navy en route?
1555 Lyon Bonhomme
Si France passes autre mer lygustique,
Tu te verras en isles & mers enclos:
Mahommet contraire: plus mer Hadriatique:
Cheuaux & d’asnes tu rougeras les os.
REVISED 1557 Cheuaux & d’Asnes tu rongeras les os.
This first edition bears the veb ‘rougeras’ in its last line but the 1557 Lyon Du Rosne edition has it as ‘rongeras’. In fact this might have been intended as a tense of either OF ‘ronger’ to gnaw or OF ‘rougir’ to glow, redden or blush red. The 1557 also capitalizes the word ‘Asnes’. Although I do not usually concur readily with my peers in Nostradamus research (and despite that there are echoes in here of ‘Bellis rubuit naualibus aequor’ or ‘Naval battles bloomed the sea red’ from the EPISTLE TO THE KING) I think I shall go with the flow in this particular instance by presuming the 1555 edition to be in error, corrected by the 1557 edition, and accept the revised Line 4, “Cheuaux & d’Asnes tu rongeras les os.”
If France makes passage beyond the coast of Liguria.
You will find yourself in the islands and their seas:
The Moslems against you, more the Adriatic.
Cavalry and Mule Corps you will gnaw bones.
Although this seems a little like Gallipoli (see the Nostradamus Quatrains IV 82 & V 26 : III 68 & V 90 CROSS-REFERENCING NOSTRADAMUS QUATRAINS AN EXPERIMENT) if we simply say Porter or Sherpa Corp then it will configure for a miscellany of events. (The Ho Chi Minh Trail hosted several porters for every single fighting soldier.) As ‘Cheveaux et Asnes’ has been capitalized I could certainly take them as representative of military units, basically the fighters and their supply lines. (OF ‘asnee’ had the meaning ‘the load on a donkey’ whilst OF ‘asne’ was the donkey beast of burden or else a Medieval mill wheel or, in OF military terminology, a mechanical device for throwing missiles). There is no mention of marines so this might even mean that land forces will be in place yet fail to be supplied by sea and so may subsequently starve. It seems this prediction starts with a doubt, with an ‘if’, which is a rarity in Nostradamus.
Should Moslem aggressors have already taken Southern Spain then theirs could be a pincer movement against Marseilles/the Ligurian Coast as illumined by quatrains III 88 and V 55 at least at first sight. (I haven’t investigated them in depth yet.) The latter mentions fecund Yemen, “Felice Arabie”. The words ‘Yemen’ and ‘happy’ presently do not resonate too well together especially in French minds, poor them, although al-Qaeda in the Yemen is denying involvement in the shocking ‘Charlie Hebdo’ shootings.
Of course another Medieval setting would occur should Hyrcania in Line 1 turn out to be the Hercynian Forest (the Greater Black Forest) and if ‘istra’ in Line 3 were the River Ister (the Danube, for a long while a frontier of Imperial Rome) as mention of either of these two would have suggested Germania to any reader of Strabo’s Geographica.
Nigel Raymond Offord © 2015