1568 Lyon Benoist Rigaud

Conflict Barbar en la Cornere noire,
Sang espandu trembler la d’Almatie,
Grand Ismaël mettra son promontoire,
Ranes trembler secours Lusitanie.

Line 1, OF ‘Cornere noire’ is pivotal to our understanding. Whereas OF ‘noire’ was a type of fabric, cloth, OF ‘cornere/cornière’ means the beam for a double slanting roof. I think we should assume ‘noire’ to be ‘noir’, black, and the ‘Cornere’ to be a turban. These could be said to slope on two sides like a European house roof. (The black turban is still compulsory for a Hindu male.) It might also describe the war tents of the travelling party that is taking the offensive.

Line 2, OF ‘Almatie’ is Dalmatia (or else this was mistaken during printer dictation for OF ‘amatir’ meaning to physically destroy somebody, one way or another).

Line 4 is no more than obliquely meaningful unless ‘secours’ could be a printed mistake for ‘secouer’, to shake, making this line read ‘Ranes to tremble, Lusitania to shake’ which assumes Ranes to be a place/a people/a reign yet to be revealed. ‘Ranes’ might have been taken from a foreign title for rulers such as Ranis. (‘Rani’ is Hindu for Queen and, yes, there have been warlike ones.)

There was a four-sided patch of pre-Celtic Iberia called Lusitania. It is possible that ‘la Cornere noire’ was Lusitania, originally an Indo-European region forming the Hispania Ulterior section of the old RomanRepublic and thought especially brutal by their troops. It covered most of Portugal and bits of Spain. It became the Roman Empire’s Province of Lusitania or Extreme West. (In the Sixteenth Century, New Lusitania became the name for what is now Brazil.) But D’Almatie is probably Dalmatia away to the East on the Adriatic which latterly was part of the Byzantine Empire. (The name Dalmatia apparently comes from delminium, sheep pasture, although ‘dalmatique’ was also an OF variation for ‘tunique’, a robe of office.)

The Mongols reached Dalmatia in 1241 (but inexplicably withdrew from Eastern Europe in 1242). Could ‘Cornere noire’ then be a prejudicial reference to some Muslim land, say tiny Albania still the only Muslim state in Europe? Muslims claim descent from Ishmael. The European promontory of Islamic excursion was the Iberian Peninsula, which brings us back to Lusitania. OF ‘promontoire’ could mean a prominence or an alternative interpretation could come from the Medieval Latin ‘promunturium’ used to describe a sally or swift thrust by siege troops.

The word ‘ranes’ could even be a missprint for ‘Manes’, spirits of the dead, and at a stretch ‘Ranes’ could even mean Iranians, the alternative expression for Persians. The common translation for ranes is frogs from the Latin ‘ranas’. The French ‘ramas’ (a motley assembly of little worth, or its actions) is a less agile conclusion but not nearly so wet. OF ‘trembler’ means muscular agitation of a sort but sometimes meant ‘to cartoon’. Obviously it’s proving a struggle to stable this steed, Nostradamus Quatrain IX 60.

Tentative Translation:
Conflict with the Barbars in the black turbans,
Blood spills, Dalmatia in great agitation:
Great Ishmael will establish his promontory,
’Ranes’ to tremble, relief in Lusitania.


If this is set in a past age: I suppose a general interpretation could be that the Mongol Imperials (now impossibly named the ‘Grand Ishmael’ by Nostredame perhaps because Chingis Khan, normally religiously tolerant, had smashed the Moslems almost to extermination as a revenge and yet his hordes returned impregnated with the seeds of Islam) did during their period of greatest expansion under the great Khan attack the whole Black Sea region (‘la Cornere noire’?) then made it down as far as skirmishes on the Dalmatian Coast. Hungarian historians particularly have argued over their peculiarly sudden withdrawal. Certainly the Mongol advance terrified many European centres of population which were expecting to be overrun by these bloodthirsty hordes, roundly considered to be less than civilized. They had conquered Kievan Rus including Riazan, an Eastern region. Could it be that ‘Ranes’ was a local collective noun for the Rus people, or even the Riazan’s, rather like we used the incorrect term ‘Russkies’ for the Soviets? It’s either that or the Ranes are the old Spanish colonies in South America (regnes) and ‘Lusitanie’ is Spain/New Lusitania is Brazil.

If it is set in the present era: in 2010, Brazil – a member of the UN Security Council having beneficial ties with Iran – refuted USA’s pressure to inflict sanctions against Iran. At that time, the BBC reported that countries in that region felt let down by a US administration distracted by warring activities and interests in the Middle East. Here, ‘d’Almatie’ might just prove to be South America and ‘Cornere noire’ the Black Sea, of major interest to the US government because of possible pipelines there, including from Iran to China.

Or else it’s an unfulfilled prophecy perhaps linked to the arrival of the Western expat ‘Man from the East’, possibly with the ‘Dog and Dogam’ in tow, sometime in the future. Despite this quatrain displaying references to two separate places, all we can say for sure is that this is about a Barbar War.