X 64 AROUND AND AROUND ITALY
1568 Lyon Benoist Rigaud
Pleure Milan, pleure Luques, Florance,
Que ton grand Duc sur le char montera,
Changer le siege prés de Venise’s aduance,
Lors que Colomne à Rome changera.
Translation 1: General:
Weep and pray, Milan and Lucca, Florence,
As your great Duke climbs up in the chariot,
Go quickly to change the seat near to Venice/Venaissin,
When at Rome ‘Colomne’ will be transmuted.
My Tarot Take:
Line 1. Tarot goes back at least to the late Fourteenth Century when it spread through the royal houses of Northern Italyalong with playing cards. Many Italian cities printed-up sheets of cards including the Tarot until the end of the Sixteenth Century. A surviving sheet of Tarot cards printed around Milan dates back to 1500 and some hand-drawn Visconti and d’Este packs still survive.
Line 2. ‘The Chariot’ is a somewhat triumphal Tarot Card.
Line 3. The earliest known substitution of Tarot or ‘taraux’ for the Italian word ‘Tarochi’ was at Avignonin 1505. This was an alternative Papal seat to Rome. Avignon, a Papal comtat, was almost entirely surrounded by the Comtat of Venaissin (Venaicin, Venessin).
Line 4. ‘The Tower’ is a Tarot Card. It looks a little warlike but depicts the lightning strike of truth as it destroys a structure built on lies and those who abide in there.
Translation 2: Tarot:
Regret, regret Milan, Lucca, Florence,
As your Chariot is leaving,
Hastening to transfer the center to Venaissin,
Whence the Tower will be translated.
My Two Non-Tarot Takes:
Line 1, ‘pleure’ appears at the beginning of Nostradamus Quatrain X 60 also.
Line 2, OF ‘char’ was once a chariot but could later be used for a four-wheel cart or tank drawn by horse or by oxen. In Astrology it was the four-wheeled Great Chariot of Ursa Major. In the Lorraine it was a version of ‘charée’, a measure of wine.
Line 3. OF ‘siége/seige’ meant a siege but OF ‘siege’ meant a seat or centre of power. In the early Twelfth Century there was ‘siege emperial’ meaning the Imperial Throne while in the last part of that century we find “meuble fait pour s’asseoir” (in ‘Rou’ by Wace). From the Fourteenth Century we have a military siege as ‘seige real’ (‘Vie de Saint Denis’ in the British Museum). In OF it might be linked with ‘sis’, which is the receptor’s mark on a Papal Bull, and ‘seoir’ a forerunner of ‘s’asseoir’ meaning to be seated or settling upon. OF ‘prés de’ = near, to whilst OF ‘prêt de’ is similar but would mean ‘imminently’. (OF ‘présage de’ is the signal of a coming event.)
Line 4, Fr.-Prov. ‘changera’ = will be made otherwise. OF ‘avancer’ meant to go forward or hasten to somewhere.
Each line of this quatrain seems traceable to some period of history yet to make it consistent overall is difficult. Possibly we do not yet have the appropriate knowledge to match the scope of vision by Nostredame here. Maybe two lines are about one era and two refer to another. Or there could be a pair of solutions in here, viz
‘Venise’ =Venice, Italy (45N) OR ‘Venise’ = Venaissin, France (44°N)
Italy: In the Twentieth Century the nature of the Holy Seat got changed by the fascists within theKingdom of Italy who chose to restore Vatican City to the Church as a sovereign state. Later,Venice voted to take up Mussolini’s political advances. All this presented a revised political geography for Italy. Aside from banning the world-famous Venice Carnival as part of the totalitarian ‘cultural revolution’ plus instituting the patronic Mussolini Cups awarded at the Venice Film Festivals, there was the divisive problem of pro-monarchist vs. pro-republican fasci. This tugging of warlike sentiments came to a head inVenice and they decided upon republicanism as did most of the urban fasci in Italy. Venice, after the Medieval and early-Renaissance glory-years when she ‘held the East in fee’, had sunk into long-term general decline. Mussolini first met Hitler in person at Venice in 1934. That same year a Roman column was erected in Chicago, USA, carrying the inscription:
“This column twenty centuries old
Erected on the strand of Ostia Port of Imperial Rome
To watch over the fortunes and victories of the Roman triremes
Fascist Italy with the sponsorship of Benito Mussolini Presents to Chicago”
Translation 3: Mussolini’s Fascist State:
Weep and pray, Milan and Lucca, Florence,
As your great Duke climbs up in the chariot,
Hastening to rework the seat of power in the region of Venice,
When the column at Rome will be transplaced.
Nostradamus Quatrain X 64 chimes well with the between-war years in Europe, notably because Nostredame seems to have recognized long in advance the existence of a unified Italy, a resettling of the hub of the Holy See and the fast-rising rule of a grandiose ‘Duke’.
France: In 1305 a French Pope moved the Papal seat to Avignon, a Papal enclave of separate politics from and yet surrounded by and united with the Papal Comtat Venaissin. Avignon/Venaissin became a real-life metonym for the Absent French Popes and the Anti-Popes. (Cosmopolitan and broadminded Venice was a thorn in the side of the Pope whether at Rome or at Avignon, even in Michel Nostredame’s lifetime.)
Translation 4: Avignon:
Weep and pray, Milan, Lucca, Florence,
As your great Dukes mount the chariot:
Hurry to move the seat into close proximity with Venaissin,
When that capital at Rome will be undone.
Four separate translations so far and yet there may not be quite proof enough. Line 2 doesn’t sit that well even in its most logical traductions and I wonder if this could be an astrological statement? The insertion of ‘Colomne’ here is typically ‘arch’ but quite possibly a time-marker for the whole quatrain. It pivots upon the interpretation of the words ‘Colomne at Rome’ (Latitude 42°N).
In 1379, Venice battled their trade rivals Genoa and then encroached further intoWestern Italy. The Pope brokered the Italian League so as to keep the peace by a balance of power between Venice, Milan, Naples, Florence and thePapal States (the five most important Italian groupings at the time). A balance of political power over boundaries is usually a miltary balance achieved by aggressive posing and perpetual acts of preparedness. Today Milan (45°27N) Lucca (43°50’N) and Firenze (43°50N) are the urban hearts of Italian provinces.
The Colonna’s are a famously rich and powerful family in Rome (of the Palazzo Colonna) who once skirmished with Pope Boniface who excommunicated them for four generations. Later they produced their own Pope. Their crest bears a central classical column, reflecting their name. Possibly Colomne = Colonne = the family Colonna. In 1521 Prospero Colonna led a force that caused the Swiss pikemen, who still faught in disciplined columns much like the Romans once did, to abandon the conflict and return to their cantons, all of their accompanying French nobles having fallen except the commander Montmerency. This encounter with new-fangled gunfire brought about an end to the long-standing superiority of the hired Swiss fighting ‘column’ that by legend would advance, sometimes unsupported, like a force of nature. It also led to the arquebusiers/small arms becoming dominant in warfare. The Battle of Brioca took place across Latitude 45°N.
‘Colomne’ means piers or pillars or, as ‘colonne/colonel’, meant colonists, pioneers, settlers. As a placename it suggests Colonna on the highway between Rome and Monte Cassino, the scene of much fighting between Nazi and US/NZ forces during WWII. For any person who lived through the Twentieth Century it is difficult to read ‘Colomne’ without summoning-up the image of a column of tanks or troops or the feared (yet mostly non-existent, we are told) Nazi Fifth Column. In all these circumstances a translation of ‘pleure’ would doubtless encompass both weeping and petitional prayers.
Roman engineers were strangely capable of lifting very heavy columns clean off the ground, possibly by employing a massive system of towers, cranes and pulleys. Yet over the years the column erected to Antoninus Pius became mostly buried and it was only excavated in 1703AD whereafter the horizontalized column suffered fire and theft damage. Restoration took place and it was removed to the Vatican Museum. Since 1885 (the same year as the columnar Statue of Liberty from France was attached to its plinth in New York Harbour) it now stands upright in the Vatican. On the other hand, a column erected to Phocas was deliberately altered under a judgement that his public memory be erased (damnatio memoriae) causing all statues of him to be toppled.
Apart from Mussolini’s pre-war gift to a fascist-admiring Chicago, the phrase “When the Column at Rome will be made otherwise” could mean any act equating to the Roman Damnatio Memoriae or – as Colomne is also a Latin plural noun – this might even include summary execution by partisans of ‘il Duce’ Mussolini and his lover who were hung upside-down from railing posts by a Milanese mob in 1945. However, il Duce first saw in himself the rebirth of Emperor Augustus and had set-to restoring the ruins of the Mausoleo di Augusto as a showpiece of fascism achievement and the former glories of Roman Empire. Its funerary urns had vanished long ago during the Sack of Rome and in Medieval times it was converted into a castle-fortress for the Colonna family’s use in the republic-like city-state called the Commune of Rome which became a ruin until Mussolini’s Italian Fascist Party rebuilt it. Is ‘Colomne’ a piercing portfolio of ‘Commune’ and Colonna?
Translation 5 by Line interpretations:
Line 1 representsItaly’s unity in sorrow, at least retrospectively.
Lines 2 and 3 form a historical cameo of a part of the rise of fascism in Italy.
Line 4 is a time-marker, perhaps the Fourteenth Century Papal migration to Avignon-Venaissin or the Fifteenth-Sixteenth Century advent of Tarot with a French twist or the Twentieth Century growth of Italian Fascism with a nod to the Twelfth Century and Colonna’s defeated Commune of Rome.
I guess it all depends upon whether you believe that the altogether human Master Michel de Nostredame could envision the future in curious detail and accurately comprehend most of what he saw and confine the telling of it to one crimped verse and in a way that a modern mind may unravel his puzzles.
Nigel Raymond Offord © 2012