1568 Lyon Benoist Rigaud

Par la Guyenne infinité d’Anglois
Occuperont par nom d’Anglaquitaine
Du Languedoc Ispalme Bourdeloys.
Qu’ilz nommeront apres Barboxitaine.

An ‘infini’ of English through Guienne
Occupying under the name of Anglaquitaine
In Languedoc, Ispalme, Bordelais,
Which they name after Barboxitaine.

My creation ‘infini’ substitutes for ‘infinity’ (unending uncountables or unlimited sets) and simply means ‘a big bunch I won’t or can’t enumerate here’. (Complex plural, ‘infinii’)

Line 1, ‘Par la Guyenne infinité d’Anglois’ contains the sequential letters of a common European term for territory, ‘pagus’ (the land component of the Political Science designation ‘tribal’) which has become ‘pays’ in French and ‘pago’ in Spanish – both of which are also contained here and in their original letter sequences.

As Medieval sovereignty was assumed at the onset to be more or less unbound regnance, this ‘infini’ of Anglo’s could simply imply that England holds sovereignty over parts of France.

The tourist trade of La Palma de Mallorca regularly experiences a similar feeling of British invasiveness as is described here and France had an overwhelming experience of English-speakers during WWI and WWII. England did not, however, experience an uncountable number of French in 1066, no more than 20,000 in fact who spread out everywhere and made no attempt to stop normal use of the English language excepting the new legal system in Norman French. This succumbed to Anglo-Norman French. As for specific English nationals, France had these during the Middle Ages when English agents of the royal houses were ruling over large parts of France from time to time, resolving with the sole rulership of Calais. In fact, up to King George III every King of England was sub-titled ‘King of France’.

Nostredame, if this is him, is writing history. The problem identified here was real and long-standing. When William II of Normandy became William I of England, gaining a country for himself to consolidate with anarchy at home, he started a new royal dynasty. Two generations later they were being pestered with attempts at intermarriage coming from France, mostly by Count Fulk V wishing to offset for Anjou the political advance of Normandy. In fact, he finally brought together by marriage the Angevins, the House of Wessex and the House of Normandy which three together ruled England and Western France. But the long Wars of the Roses defeated them all and the Crown fell to the Welsh Tudors, with most of the possessions in France returned to local jurisdictions.

Likewise the marriage of Eleanor to Henry II of England in 1152 placed Aquitaine under English rule. In 1360, Edward III finally acquired the duchy of Guienne along with Angoumois, Saintonge and Poitou but these returned to France in 1453. Most of the Hundred Years War took place over the North of France. ‘Ispalme’ may well be one of the Mediterranean islands whilst ‘Barboxitaine’ is obviously a portfolio. Coastal Occitania, the homeland of the Franco-Spanish language Oc (L.hoc) which is still in daily use, is probably the oxitaine bit. What about Barb?

OF ‘barbe’ meant facial hair especially on the chin but it had the figurative meaning of face as well as secondary meanings of both mouth and lips. OF ‘langue’ (as in Langue d’Oc) means the tongue. Is this Barboxitaine a clever joke? This does not feel Nostradamusing as normal, to me, but then it’s a personal public thing is humour.

One ‘burnished beard’ features in this earlier Nostradamus Quatrain V 59 AENOBARBE:

1557 Lyon Du Rosne

Au chef Anglois à Nymes trop seiour,
Deuers l’Espaigne au secours Aenobarbe:
Plusieurs mourront par Mars ouuert ce iour,
Quant en Artoys faillir estoille en barbe.

A most ample stay for the English chief at Nîmes,
From towards Spain Aenobarbe to help:
Many will die through Mars/March opened that day,
As a bearded star falls in Artois.

From the Fourteenth ‘til the Seventeenth Century the nodal-point Roman city of Nîmes suffered badly with plagues and by many invasions along the Rhone corridor. It stood on the Via Domitia road that ran from Italy and into Spain. The reference to Aenobarbe sounds suspiciously similar to the Nice siege by sea conducted by France with assistance from Barbarossa (Redbeard) in 1534. (See the Article NOSTRADAMUS GEOGRAPHY)

Pre-Christianity also had the horribly ignoble family name Ahenobarbus that attached to a succession of Roman emperors including Nero. Otherwise, this Nostradamus Quatrain V 59 has not yet fufilled itself, which almost automatically puts the Antichrist into the frame. (Also see the entry for Abu Musab, copper-haired and Spanish by marriage, in the Nostradamus Quatrain II 62 MABUS BY NAME)

Julius Caesar settled military veterans of the NileValley canpaigns to Narbonne and Nîmes. Later, many Christian Romans lived permanently in the South of France. Any folks beyond the wide boundaries of the Occitaine coastal strip were sometimes referred, to even in Nostredame’s time, as ‘barbarians’ – just how Julius Caesar once spoke of all tribes beyond Rome.

If this quatrain is truly predictive (not every declamation in Nostradamus is) then he may have foreseen a part of the Twentieth Century invasions of Southern France; primarily by the German military’s Allied vanquishers and latterly by well-heeled Londoners looking for a simple Provençe/Languedoc lifestyle (and the opposite also happens). It still rankles the French that the common international language is English, now spoken everywhere.

Aquitaine is an ancient name for the area of variable topography that includes Bourdeaux, Gironde and Dordogne. So if Anglaquitaine is Aquitaine under English influence then Barboxitaine should be either ‘Barbaric Occitain’ or some Bordelais, Bourdeloys, Bourdeaux combination with Occitain that I cannot adequately fathom. I suppose a possible Nostredamus wordgame might be played with the place Narbonne, Narbona, Narbon, Narbo so as to start its name with the letter ‘B’ as found in Aquitaine’s Bourg commune in Southwestern France or maybe Burgundy. When Narbo met Barbo? Narbonne is fifteen kilometres from the nearest coast but was an important Mediterranean port nevertheless. It was constructed on the Via Domitia, old Rome’s international highway, and became a Jewish exegetic centre in the Eleventh Century probably housing many important old books taken there by Near Eastern sages.

France had regained full control by the Fifteenth Century during the reigns of Charles VII of France and  Henry VI of England. This pious and humble king was not capable of holding onto advantages inherited from his father Henry V who had done well strategically out of the Hundred Years War (from 1337 to 1453) in both France and the Low Countries. This marked the return of standing armies in Europe as the competing Houses of Valois and Plantagenet battled for the French throne. Valois emerged the territorial victor but France was still segmented. The Plantagenets were English Angevins via Anjou and Normandy. (The Fifteenth Century French footsoldier was fated to fight on either side of various encounters.) Burgundy and Aquitaine (close enough to Nostredame’s locality to be part of his family history) veered mostly to the Plantagenet side. Some intervals in the Hundred Years War were quite peaceful and Englishmen may well have been visible in sympathetic areas as they went about their business. Nostredame may have heard rumours about this from his own grandparents, perhaps as a kind of fisherman’s tale; English everywhere!

Back to base, the Norman Kings of England were replaced by the Angevins who then managed England and Normandy  together with Anjou, Aquitaine, Gascony, Maine, Poitou and Saintonge. At this time they had more territory in France than the French King and this was the Angevin Mini-Empire later to be recovered by the French Monarchy.

The tantalizing potential dominion of England-France oscillated in particulars. Favoured French land bosses in England were resented by their English equivalents and this led to the Second Baron’s War. The Montfort’s of Brittany held such lands in England and France that they adopted a family pose of international neutrality. Nevertheless, old Norman French ceased to be the legal language of England in the mid-Fourteenth Century. Froissart‘s Chronicles were completed in 1400 and have many details on all of this (including bias and exaggeration). Like the Nostradamus Centuries they have been in print ever since first being published (in Bruges around 1470) and are available on the Internet.

A Royal Order of 1666 created the Canal du Midi (meaning Canal of the South but often called the Canal of Two Seas) which linked up with the Canal de Garonne and was built to avoid the Spanish coast with its constant interference by pirate raiders from Barbary, North Africa. By patronage they were to link continuously the Atlantic directly with the Mediterranean and through France alone. The name ‘Ispalme’ certainly looks Spanish but the modern French ‘espalme’ suggests the tar-coat on a boat or the waterproofing of a hull. Fancifully, Lines 3 and 4 could then mean something like “Sea-worthy boats from Bordeaux sail upon the Languedoc in Occitainia avoiding the Barbary pirates”.

An alternative notion remains, that this quatrain could be tomfoolery: a piece of rigged Rigaud.

                                         Nigel Raymond Offord © 2012