1555 Lyon Bonhomme

Dans Auignon tout le chef de l’empire
Fera arrest pour Paris desolé:
Tricast tiendra l’Annibalique ire:
Lyon par change sera mal consolé.

Translation 1:
In Avignon the leader of an empire
Will halt sorrowful for Paris:
Tricast will sustain a Hannibal-like rage:
Lyons will be made disconsolate by the change.

Translation 2:
In Avignon, the very head of the empire
Will make a stop sorrowing for Paris:
Tricast will contain the anger of a Hannibal:
Lyons will be discomfited by the exchange.

Line 1, OF ‘tout’ could mean all or entire or most important or even very. OF ‘chef’ means the head who directs an activity but had various meanings beside, even coiffure. It was also the fixed sum payable by a serf to his lord. Or the top-end of something. Likewise OF ‘empire’ could mean lands under remote imperial authority or a military command or some other exercisement of power. Or just the East. OF ‘ire’ originally meant to feel disturbed by suffering but by Nostredame’s era it mostly meant strong anger.

Line 2, OF ‘Fera’ = ‘faire’ or ‘ferrer’ (though possibly it’s ‘sera’, will be, due to the ambiguous print type used) which would mean to make or do or else to strike metal like a farrier. OF ‘arrêt’ = made to stop, immobile, stayed, rest, peace. OF ‘pour’ usually means OF ‘par’. Otherwise it means in order to or on the side of someone/something. OF ‘desolé’ = sorry or desolate.

Line 3, OF ‘tiendra’ is from ‘tenir’, to hold, which can also mean to have, to sustain or to put down. Is ‘Tricast’ an interface, a person, a place, a trine or a triad? (Another odd noun in ‘Nostradamus’ is ‘Trinacrie’ used twice in the Epistle to the King.)

One possibility is the ‘War of the Three Henrys’ (Henry III, Henry of Navarre, Henry Duc de Guise). All three were to be assassinated. Or ‘the Tridentine spirituality of the Catholic Reformation’. (‘The French Wars of Religion, 1562-1629’, Mack P. Holt)

Of course, Tricast might just be poetic licence, say, for a very long name. St. Paul-Trois-Chateaux has been suggested. It is is a large village with a Cathedral and a very important nuclear plant (caught fire/exploded, 2011, which was not its only Level One Event) in the Drôme Provençale or ‘Green Provence’. The name in Occitan, Sant Pau Tres Castèus, certainly bears this out. Tres Castèus was also known as Trecate or else Saint-Paul-en-Tricastin, the name of the diocese.  (The name ‘Trois-Chateaux’ is a linguistic mixup: the Tricastini were a Gaullish tribe.)The area was engulfed by the terrible Wars of Religion initiated by the Duc de Guise that raged for 36 years up to 1598 and long before that had housed the Templar centre at Richerenches. It’s part of a region of fortified villages which host grand chateaux with connections to the French Revolution. Together with Isère and the Hautes-Alpes this formed the autonomous province Dauphiné under the Counts of Albon (Dauphin of Viennois) until 1457. This included the Tricastin and the annexed Principality of Orange. A hybrid mixture of Oïl and Oc was spoken.

Presumably ‘Annibalique’ would mean Hannibal-like or Hannibal-ish or engaged in a Hannibalesque charge around ‘like a bull elephant in a china shop’.

King Henri of Navarre, d.1610, only ever reigned as Henri IV over the South of France. The North, including the capital Paris, remained under the Catholic League and beyond his reach. A sorrow for this King of France.

Although the Holy Roman Empire was a principal player, it’s possible that a vision of the state of Navarre bordering onto the Southern French provinces had formed another type of empire in Nostredame’s mind. Or he might be referring to the proliferation of Protestant philosopher’s sects (Lutheranism was not the only ‘German Error’) in the Great Western Schism forming a kind of empire never seen before. An empire of individuals rather than one of land and buildings owned by an elite and serviced by serfs with little or no freedom of expression.

Calvinism was the major adoption in Lyons and around (not so difficult in the ex-Albigensian South and reinforced intellectually by the general Renaissance view of mankind’s individuality) though vaguely envisaged as subject to a national church of France. Yet for many the Pope was supreme, nonetheless, including at the Sorbonne and in Queen Catherine’s Court. Basically those to the West of Strasbourg were Latins with more enthused Bishops (who would seriously reform their clergy) and deeply convinced Catholics than the Teutons. The contagion took hold, however, pitting neighbourhood against neighbourhood and dividing them, eventually by acts of violence that were to become escalated to breathtaking levels of obscenity.

Many of the Waldenses in Dauphiny and Provence went over to the Huguenots, the Calvinist side. After the official persecutions of 1562 the reformers in the South of France gained speed and were trying to force their religious tenets on the people by attacking churches, priests and lay folk, profaning the Sacrament and obliging the peasantry to attend and listen up. The Catholics were especially bitter that a small minority should (because of worldly power struggles between the King of France, the Holy Roman Empire and the German Protestant Princes) be allowed to have their way regardless of the wishes of the majority of the people.

Avignon, Paris, Tricast and Lyon are selected by Nostredame to be representative of the whole of France, which does not rule out that his vision could include hitherto unrecorded historic information.

Some records show Line 4 as reading:
Luon par change sera mal consolé.

Here’s a third translation incorporating this:

Translation 3:
In Avignon altogether the head of the empire,
Will make preparations for the abandoning of Paris:
Noviomagus Tricastinorum (named for a tribe of Galls in the South-East of France and later called St-Paul-en-Tricastin) will fend the Hannibalic fury,
Favours awarded will be a poor consolation for inconstancy.

Roving armies like those of Attilla the Hun and Hannibal Barca of Carthage have once crossed French-Gaul – the latter by climbing Northern Spain and moving through what is now Southern France over to the Alps. The town Tricastin of the Tricastinis appears to have held its ground against the most battle-proven army in the world and seems to have been recognized for this but then were let down according to this re-interpretation of Nostradame’s retrospective report.

Nigel Raymond Offord © 2012/2017