X 33 AN INCOMPLETE QUATRAIN (NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION)
La faction cruelle à robbe longue
Viendra cacher souz les pointus poignards
Saisir Florence le duc & lieu diphlongue,
Sa descouuerte par immeurs & flangnards.
Line 1, OF ‘faction’ means a group, a heretical or seditious sect. OF ‘robbe’ had several distinct meanings one of which is a robe. Another is to thieve or loot or commit larceny.
Here’s a note on long robes from the Nostradamus Quatrain VII 57 THE SHORT ROBE AND THE LONG “The short robe will come to be the long” is clearly a reference to Rome where soldiers wore short robes and senators wore long robes.” Europe’s Middle Ages carried forward this sartorial distinction between the martial or sporting man and the dignitary or Churchman.
Line 2, OF ‘poignard’ was a weapon with a crossguard, a long light thrusting knife the blade of which tapers acutely. It was customarily worn by nobles and knights. Confusingly the OF term ‘pointus’ would seem to confirm this description but could suggest alternatively that a weapon has been furnished with angular spikes.
The poinard is mentioned specifically in the death-dealing Jesuit Oath. The Jesuits were a little popular or else very unpopular with national and Church leaders at different places and differing times in Europe. Could these Jesuits be the cruel faction?
(See the Jesuit section of the entry for April 2017 at nostradamondo.wordpress.com)
Line 3. Renaissance Florence was a place of competing families and influential mobs. There were only two Dukes of Florence, each a Medici, and both in the Sixteenth Century. The Medici line continued under a grander title but ran extinct and in the Eighteenth Century Florence fell by marriage to inclusion in the territories of the Austrian crown. (In 1859 Austrian rule was defeated by France and Sardinia-Piedmont jointly.)
By “Florence le duc” Nostredame might simply have meant “the Duke of Florence”.
OF ‘lieu’ is familiar in its meaning as a place, sometimes geographical, but can also mean a space including something locatable in an abstract space.
OF ‘diphlongue’ certainly looks like the English word diphthong. It might be some extraction from the Greek, modified for the French reader, possibly meaning a doubled sort of name like Baden Baden or Emilia-Romagna or Florence/Firenze. Alternatively we could take note that the hyphenated Aix-la-Chapelle has two names also being known as Aachen, a name headed-up by a doubled first letter. The Treaty of Aachen/Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, 1748, ended the War of the Austrian Succession.
My most off-beat explanation for ‘the diph-long place’ might be that this could be descriptive of double-entry bookkeeping in two columns which originated with the Medici’s books of account in Florence. The place might even be the Counting House of the Medici Bank.
Italy had a few Roman double placenames such as Augusta Praetoria (Aosta) and Forum Iulii (Friuli) and Mons Bellona (Montebellun) and Turin/Taurinum was also known as Augusta Taurinorum.
Line 4, OF ‘immeurs’ may be related to OF ‘meurs’, a ‘parfait’, or OF ‘moeurs’, an immoral community. In the negative it could very well mean ‘immatures’. OF ‘flangnards’ sounds like a group of hangers-on, sidesmen or any party on the flank of the ‘immeurs’. I’ll start with ‘immatures and their hangers-on’, perhaps good-timing off-duty soldiers and their camp followers. With my present resources I really can’t trace OF ‘flangnards’ and it may even have entered here mainly as a useable rhyme for ‘poignards’ which underscores the latter as being an important clue.
Out of interest modern Fr. ‘flagoneur’ – basically similar to ‘flagnard’ – is a flatterer.
The cruel political faction will hide sharp-pointed poinards
under a long robe
The cruel religious faction, long up to no good,
Hide sharp-pointed poinards beneath their clothes
The fighting group protect a ‘long robed one’ under cover of their spiky weapons
To take hold of Florence the duke* and ‘the diph-long place’,
They are discovered by youths and their hangers-on
OR They are discovered by rookies and die-hards/by column and file/by main soldiers and supports/by competing Firenze mobs.
*At the suspicious death of the first Duke of Florence Alessandro Medici in 1537 (it was banker Filippo Strozzi who promoted the assassination, the books say) some Florentine exiles marshalled their forces with help from France to march on Florence where they had support among some of the adjacent areas. They were defeated at Montemurlo Castle by the forces of the second Duke of Florence Cosimo Medici. Leading members were beheaded on the Piazza in Florence. It seems that the banker Strozzi ‘fell upon his sword’ although this is suspected as having been foul play. (It happens that the Italian verb ‘strozzare’ means throttle, strangle or choke.)
This whole event would fit the quatrain if only we should concede that Nostredame is giving us information that has simply not been recorded elsewhere and that ‘immeurs & flangnards’ is a term rather out of circulation today, even unrecorded, perhaps something like ‘the young & the old guard’.
As it happens the letters of the name Filippo Strozzi are available fully from the First Couplet, fully from the Middle Couplet and – by borrowing and duplicating letter ‘z’ from Line 2 – the Last Couplet. (As well as from the quatrain as a whole, of course). The letters of the name Alessandro may be found in the First Couplet. Cosimo is to be found in the letters of the Second Couplet
The letters of duc de Florence are in Line 3 and Medici is in Line 4 combining to give us Cosimo Medici duc de Florence jumbled-up in the letters of the Second Couplet.
It seems the long robed gentry of Florence may have set out to unseat Alessandro Medici Duke of Florence, which blew back badly on the banker Strozzi, and troops including die-hard guards then protected the city state of Florence under the Duke Cosimo Medici. This conclusion may be false. It is possible that ‘under the poinards’ refers to an escapade whereby a warring group or their leader will get smuggled under cover of a consignment of weapons. In fact the mechanical translation of Line 1 with no attempt at interpretation is “The cruel faction with a long robe will hide under pointed poinards”.
It has been suggested elsewhere that the royal personage Charles Bourbon King of Spain slipped unseen through territory of Pope Clement XI, with the latter’s connivance, during the European wars of succession. I can find no trace of that event. It seems highly improbable.
Even so Charles Bourbon roi de l’Espagne is available in full from the scrambled letters of the First Couplet (the Second Couplet also once we borrow the letters ‘b’ from the First Couplet). Likewise le pape Clément le onzième is lettered into the Second Couplet if we may borrow the letter ‘z’ from the First Couplet (and it’s in the First Couplet too if we should duplicate the letter ‘p’ and borrow the letters ‘m’ from the Second Couplet.) Such changes as these were quite normal in Medieval anagram constructions, i.e. before the tyrannical reign of the crossword puzzler.
A slightly less improbable story is that Pope Clement VII was militarily unsupported in Rome when Charles III Duke of Bourbon reached there with Georg von Frundsberg and the Landsknechts, the lowland equivalent of the Swiss pikemen, primarily German mercenaries of renown with some attendant non-pike infantry of their own.
Bienvenuto Cellini, a Renaissance man, is alleged to have shot dead Charles during the sack of Rome. (The letters of this name may be found jumbled-up in the First Couplet.)
The landsknecht not only used pikes. They also had men with 6-foot swords carried resting over their shoulders and short swords on their belts. Poinards? All-in-all they carried a lot of sharpened points. The Tross (OF ‘train de bagages’) were contingent camp followers, mainly wives and children, craftsmen, labourers, who carried the fighting items, food and belongings. No prostitutes were allowed. The flagnards might be this train but could well be the infantrymen in support of the pikers. However the distinctive Landsknechts Army and those leading them in Landsknecht-styled armour did not wear long robes – excepting that the wearer was a prelate or noble temporarily under their pointed protection.
For your interest, Pape Clément le septième and Charles le troisième duc de Bourbon d’Espagne and Georg Frundsberg and train de bagages are separately lettered into the quatrain as a whole although the OF version of Landsknecht is not – save that the ‘diphlongue’ in Line 3 may be related to the modern FR. ‘diphtongue/diphthong’ (mod.Eng. dipthong/di’thong) and that in some Medieval way Michel Nostredame was able by this to suggest ‘qu’, this combo being the missing ‘two-letter shifting sound’ that, slipped into place, would give us the letters used in OF ‘Lasquenets’ the OF name for Landsknechts or peasant armies generally.
This quatrain needs more solid facts from the real world to inform it further. (Or this is a future event.) Line 3 alone may be construed in several different ways and is not sufficiently illumined by the rest of the text. I’ve almost exhausted the possibilities from my own knowledge and so far nothing fits properly in all respects. I hope that you may be able to get complete meaning from this Nostradamus Quatrain X 33 perhaps from some other words by Michel you can find that may yet give the game away.
NIGELRAYMONDOFFORD (C) 2017