The War of the Spanish Succession as a Word Game Part 2

The War of the Spanish Succession as a Word Game Part 2

(incl. quatrains I 31   I 38   II 71   IV 17   IV 22   VIII 89 plus a curious look at 1 41 and 1 66)

I 31

Tant d’ans les guerres, en Gaule dureront

Outre la course du Castulon Monarque,

Victoire incerte trois grands courouneront

Aigle, Coq, Lune, Lyon, Soleil en marque.


So many years of war in Gaul
after the Castillian line of Kings had run its course,
The winner uncertain three great crownings will be
Eagle, Cock, Moon, Lion, the Sun in its House.

Line 3, OF ‘courouneront’ suggests the English verb tense ‘crowning’ and is a relative of the hunting term OF ‘couronneure’ which refers to the corns (cors, horns) that crown a deer.

The War of the Spanish Succession was from 1701 to 1713  (the Treaty of Utrecht) and 1714 (Treaties of Rastaff and Baden) and took place in an attempt to redirect the global inheritance of childless Charles of Spain after the extinction in 1700 of the Spanish Habsburg bloodline/the final Castillian Monarchy in Spain.

At the beginning Philp V was proclaimed Spain’s King, as intended, but Charles VI also was proclaimed King of Spain in a distant and vain opposing of this.

In fact he was crowned King of Spain three times, it seems, firstly in Vienna as above and later in Madrid in 1706 and in 1710.

This may appear to satisfy Line 3 although he also succeeded to his late brother’s titles attaching to the Holy Roman Emperor and the kingships of Bohemia, Hungary and Croatia, Serbia in 1711.

In this way he became not only a King Charles VI but also a King Charles II and a King Charles III, Archduke of Austria. Would that titular trio turn the trick?

Line 4’s creature symbols are for the HRE/Habsburgs, France and Britain and seem non-sequiturs to the three crownings in Line 3.

These symbols seem scrambled around an astrological time reference, unless we consider the Moon as a further symbol (as used elsewhere by Nostredame for the Ottomans/Islamists, the goddess Diana, the Sign of Cancer or possibly for the notion of a Republic as opposed to a Monarchy) and the Sun as representing the French Bourbon Louis XIV, the Sun King.

I 38

Le Sol & l’Aigle au victeur paroistront,

Response vaine au vaincu l’on asseure,

Par cor, ne cris harnois n’arresteront

Vindicte paix, par mort l’acheue а l’heure.

(Like all Nostradamus quatrains variations of this have been published over time,  including misrepresenting the ‘v…’ words.)

Line 4, OF ‘vindicte’ means chastisement, punishing. But in Antique Roman times this was the noun for a small wand used to touch a slave signalling their emancipation. Also it could mean the strength that one was prepared to use to defend a right. Other associated meanings attended the actions to claim or to revenge or to administer punishment.

Vindicating versus Vindictive.

Both the Sun and the Eagle manifest victory,
The people make a shallow response to being assured of (the enemy’s) vanquishment,
Immobilization of the clamouring (crowds) at the sound of the horn by men-under-arms will be met with resistance
A vindictive kind of pacification is achieved through deaths occuring at that time.
The vindicating of Peace through War, hour-on-hour.
The right to Peace is chastised, fatalities hour by hour.

Nothing is new under the Sun: public protests?

In any kind of developed society nobody in their right mind wants war and they never have done unless they were so scandalized by tales of outrageous and grossly unfair brutality by a less-than-human ‘enemy’ that they had lost focus on what was important in their own life. Or they are ‘psycopathic narcissists’ who want to make personal gains and self-glorification by rallying then offering up other people as common cannon fodder. (Think “leadership qualities”.)

Here the Bourbons and the Habsburgs each make bold with claims exerting victory over the other and the people appear to noisily protest such deceptions. Has this ever really happened? Nostredame tells it how he sees it, I suppose.

Certainly the Allied victory at the  Battle of Malplaquet was widely viewed as unacceptable in terms of huge losses, even twice as many as the enemy. Likewise the breakthrough in the Siege of Lille 1708 was at a huge loss of men.

II 71

Les exilez en Sicile viendront,

Pour deliurer la gent estrange:

Au point du iour les Celtes luy faudront,

La vie demeure à raison Roy se range.

Those who dwell away from their land will come to Sicily,
In order to deliver the foreign person:
As that dawn breaks the Celts will be failed by him OR Celtic Savoy itself fails OR the Celts are struck as if by lightning OR the Celts will be dragged down and along,
The ruling residence of the King arranges/arraigns itself.

Line 1, OF ‘Les exilez’ should be a plural noun, of course, but ‘exiler’ was an OF verb with two main meanings, to exile as in banish or impose separation from one’s own land also to exile in the sense to ruin someone or something, especially financially, or to waste resources by applying them to a pure loss. It also means to destroy, which in English has facilitated the nomenclature ‘destroyer’ for a major class of warship.

Line 3, OF ‘luy/lui’ has the prime meaning ‘him’ which is of the indirect pronoun series including, though rarely, ‘itself’.

OF ‘faudront’ could be from OF ‘faillir’, to fail. There is another OF verb ‘falloir’ that is like ‘faillir’ but carries the idea of necessity – necessarily fails. The very similar OF ‘faudroyant’ means by analogy ‘struck as if by lightning’. The OF verb ‘fauduer’, to drag along down on the ground, certainly might have produced the tense ‘faudront’ meaning they will be dragged down and along.

From this we can extract that as soon as Sicily is added to Savoy the Celtic Savoyards are brought down in dismay and placed in disarray; disadvantaged.

As part of the British effort to promote Victor Amadeus as the King of Spain he was granted Sicily as his own kingdom. The British were able to do this because of the outright superiority of their Mediterranean Fleet. Philip V agreed immediately.This move served Britain in the new idea of a balance of power in Europe. In 1713 Victor Amadeus, Duke of Savoy, was crowned King of Sicily. British Warships customarily patrolling the Mediterranean had delivered him there.

He had bitten off more than he could chew. The people of Savoy were largely Celts. Sicily and its laws and customs proved too difficult to assimilate, causing decrease to Savoyards, and the rule of Sicily was handed away of necessity only a decade or so later.

IV 17

Changer à Beaune, Nuy, Chaalon, Dijon

Le duc voulant amender la Barree,

Marchant pres fleuue, Poisson bec de Plongeon,

Verra la queue porte serra serree.

The letters of the titles ‘duc de Bourgogne’ and ‘Le Petit Dauphin’ may be found separately in the first three lines.

Line 1, OF ‘Nuys’ would be the Côte de Nuits at the heart of the Burgundy winegrowing region. All the places named are in Burgundy.

Line 2. The intention behind OF ‘la Barree’ is elusive at first. Capitalized it looks like a popular abbreviation for a person’s name but probably it is a barrier, possibly a toll-booth’s bar or counter and therefore delineating ‘the Border’.

Line 3, OF ‘marchant/marchand’ is a substantive meaning a trader, a merchant, but here ‘marchant’ is probably derived from the verb to walk, to go by foot. It can also mean to be bordering or edging onto.

OF ‘Poisson bec de Plongeon’ looks odd. Literally it reads ‘fish beak waterplay/diving’. It might be a literary quotation, say a poetic phrase describing a kingfisher. (If ‘poisson’ were a mistaken or disguised OF ‘poison’ then ‘bec de Plongeon’ could be a rather literary description of a quill pen designed to be plunged into an inkwell, so giving us ‘poison pen’.)

Line 4 seems puzzling. Literally it means “Will see the tail door squeezes tight”. This is ‘prude’. There was also a cheeky version.

Among other things, OF ‘queue’ could mean a wood container for about a muid and a half. (The muid was a regionally variable measure.)

Reversing ‘queue porte’ gives us OF ‘porte -queue’, a substantive for one who wears the coat-trains or the dress of a high personage.

OF ‘serrer’ means to close a portal by the bar so as to keep it closed. It is analogous with the bolt shooting shut on the door or any vigorous bringing together of two elements or parts.

The letters of the ‘faction de Bourgogne’ are to be found in the first three lines of the quatrain. This was a forward policy group linked to the Dauphin by ideas he had acquired from his tutor. The aristocrats involved were,

‘duc de Chevreuse’ lettered into the first three lines

‘duc de Saint-Aignan’ lettered into the first three lines

‘duc de Saint-Simon’ lettered into the first three lines

The name of Louis’ old tutor ‘François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon’ is available in its entirety from the letters of the first three lines of this quatrain by duplicating the ‘f’ and the ‘s’. So, separately, is ‘Perigord’ his place of birth.

These high-ranking ‘porte-queue’ personages wanted a return to a less than absolute monarchy (Louis XIV once remarked “The state, it is I”) and diminished centralization of powers. They thought that government should be through councils and intermediaries between King and People composed not of commoners plucked from the bourgoisie, as Louis XIV chose ministers, but by aristocrats with generations of accumulated experience. Had the Duke of Burgundy not succumbed to virulent smallpox he could well have applied their ideas when once the King of France.

As I happens, the letters of OF ‘Verra la queue porte serra serree’ will rearrange as OF ‘reparlera reséquée retrouveras’. I am not a linguist but I’ll hazard that the English translation would go something like this: ‘We’ll speak again, delete the superfluous and you will find yourself.’  Back to the text, we have this:

Change at Beaune, Côte de Nuits, Chalon, Dijon
The Duke wishes to alter the border,
Walking near the river’s edge,
He will see the tail-door of the diving kingfisher squeeze tight.

This quatrain may well refer to a whimsical saying or a piece of writing (or both) that I know nothing about, perhaps by Fénelon or Saint-Simon. If so this is a very advanced, sophisticated piece of visionary prediction with very tight focus but I have not the resources at hand to determine that surely.

IV 22

La grand copie qui sera deschassée,
Dans vn moment fera besoin au Roy:
La foy promise de loing era faussee,
Nud fe verra/se verra en piteux desarroy.

Line 4, OF ‘fe’ from ‘filius’ meant someone or some man. OF ‘verra’ could be from venir or voir with either ‘se’ or ‘fe’ – the print type used is the same for both. OF ‘désarroi’ is disorder, confusion, inner turmoil, or disarray.   OF ‘nud’ here means only partly or poorly clothed, deprived, lacking, misérable. By analogy it means without accoutrements, tools, weapons. It had also two special meanings, ‘free of’ and ‘of no value’.

The great army (soldiery) that will be brutally dispensed with,
In the next moment the King commands of them that
A long-standing faithful commitment be realised as a false understanding
Some only partly clothed/One naked they will be a pathetic sight/they will come to be pitied in their disarray.

The last line seems to be a vision of shattered solidarity. What promises were first told so as to rally recruits and console conscripts! This is surely the great land army of France under Louis XIV. In their time they were the greatest force ever brought together but now we see them wasted, feeling abandoned, at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. Quatrain IV 22 would also serve well as an image of the pitiable state of the impoverished French people at that time.


Pour ne tomber entre mains de son oncle,

Qui les enfans par regner trucidez,

Orant au peuple mettant pied sur Peloncle

Mort & traisné entre cheuaux bardez.

In order not to fall into the hands of his uncle,
Who  had destroyed the Royal line,
In a supplicating attitude to the people, putting his foot on Peloncle,
(He is) dragged dead between horses covered with armour.

Line 2 ‘les enfans par regner’ would be, in my personal opinion, the persons in the Royal line of inheritance. OF ‘trucidez’ meant massacre or wilful destruction.

Horse armour was usually the preserve of elite heavy cavalry mounted at the ready for battle. Pieces of armour often bore scallop designs around the edges although the main body would be chain mail hanging over quilted padding. Ceremonial horse armour for lofty personages might instead have used imposing sheet metal sections to cover the horse, suitably shaped and decorated.

Finding a rhyme for ‘l’oncle’ seems to have inspired or created the word ‘Peloncle’. Was that the name of the horse? Or the name of a style of armoured suit? Or a way of indicating that this is a War Horse?

OF ‘pelon’ was, like the English ‘peel’, the armour of the fruit. “Ce fruit est fortifié d’un harnois e armeure”. D. Godefroy.

An inventive composite like ‘Pelon-oncle’ could segment us with William of Orange. (He was William III of the Dutch Republic/Dutch States and became William III of England also – two warhorse-like nations.) William was, unusually, a King at birth and was brought up to believe in Divine Providence. His uncle James was the King of England who he later deposed. (The nephew of William III was Prince William of Gloucester who in his childhood days – he died immediately after his eleventh birthday party – built up a miniature regiment from local boys called “the Horseguards” eventually reaching 90 in number all of sworn allegiance to the King.)

Or did our ill-fated subject (I guess this was a child, hunched as if at prayer) hide himself by standing on a decorative scallop or pedoncle, perhaps a protruding stirrup cover, on one side of the giant warhorse, only to be dragged and crushed by that bolting pair?

During 1711/12 the two Dauphins, Grand & Petit, and the next in line after them had all three ended their earthly existences due to smallpox. (An internet encyclopedia entry has been amended to read ‘measles’. Why?)

Only the very youngest survived – probably thanks to his governess Madame de Ventadour  who isolated him and stayed with him – and stepped up to the throne in 1715 as Louis XV aged 5.

Although there is no historical evidence in support of it, the popular theory at the time was that the horrid ways of dark Phillipe II, duc d’Orleans, must have played a part in these deaths. Fate certainly played into his hands as he became – by an intervention to break the Will of the late Louis XIV – the Regent of France in 1715, the king in all but name.

Apparently the Regent pined for his own kingship but never attempted a coup d’etat and Louis XV grew up to reign a very long time. So who exactly was the deeply unfortunate nephew of such a dark uncle?

I’ve noticed that Nostredame’s  commentaries on the era of Louis XIV do sometimes become uncharacteristically confused (but then Louis XIV was a confusing personality, partly gentle and partly grandiose).

Are there parallel histories whereby the same persons grow differently and do differing things, as some people may suggest?

Out of interest, the letters of ‘Phillipe Second duc d’Orléans’ are jumbled up in the Second Couplet once we allow a duplication of the letter ‘d’ (as was normal fare in Medieval anagrams) plus a borrowed ‘s’, should we demand it, from the First Couplet.

The name ‘Madame de Ventadour’ is available from the letters of the Second Couplet by duplicating the letter ‘d’.

Louis Quinzième is lettered into the First Couplet by duplication of the letter ‘i’.


Whilst preparing this supplementary article about the Eighteenth Century War of the Spanish Succession I was led by an otherwise informative Nostradamus research site into investigating quatrain I 41 on the apparent premise that the last line was extra pertinent and also that there was a link with quatrain I 61.

I did not find either of these observations to be particularly helpful to me when making the translations below, both quatrains showing narrow yet indeterminate observations, although I did find hidden anagrams – letters of pertinent words jumbled into each quatrain – the poisons incident being, curiously, a particular part of Louis XIV’s reign in the Seventeenth and not the Eighteenth Century:

l’affaire des Poisons
l’affaire des Poudres

I 41

The Siege of Lille took place during the 1708 campaign season. The powder incident refers to when the Chevalier of Luxembourg  led two thousand horsemen hauling forty thousand pounds of gunpowder through the Allied lines. Remarkable.

The letters of ‘l’affaire des poudres’ are in the Second Couplet. OF ‘poudre’ is available from Line 2 also. The jumbled letters of “L’affaire des” may be found in Line 3 and “poisons” is in Line 4, hence ‘L’affaire des poisons’. OF ‘poison’ is available from Line 2.

Siege en Cité & de nuict assaillie
Peu eschappez non loing de mer conflit,
Femme de ioye, retours fils defaillie,
Poison & lette cachée dans le plic.

Outside of this Nostradamus Quatrain we have no record of any details provided here. We do know that the winner granted that the conditionals for ‘Honours of War’ had been met by the loser. This allowed that garrison to march out heads held high to the sound of their pipes and drums. It acknowledged a job well done by military standards. The defeat was honourable allowing that army to survive unaltered as an institution. Sometimes such a concession was unjustly witheld by a peeved Commanding Officer. On other occasions the defeated force marched out playing one of their enemy’s musical pieces as a gesture.

The individual letters of ‘Honneurs de la guerre à la compact d’Acre’ are each available, without any duplications, from the quatrain as a whole.

The City under siege and an assault by night OR
The Courtly City under an assault by night
A few escape the conflict not a long way from the sea OR
A few escape not far from a marine conflict,
A woman from Joie does not see her son return OR
A woman falls down overcome with joy at her sons return,
Hidden letters with poison in the folds. OR
Lettters with poison hidden in the folds

Line 3, ‘Femme de ioye’ could mean a woman of joy (happy) or a joy-woman (dubious) or a woman from a small district named Joie (there is one on the modern map of France near Route departmentale D69 which runs to Salon-en-Provence, the historic home of Michel deNostredame).

OF ‘défaillie/défaille’ means failure, fault, failing to attend, finding that a ‘no-show’ has robbed a party of related benefits.

Line 4, OF ‘lette’ appears to be a mistaken ‘lettre’ although if capitalized as ‘Lette’ it could be Letton/Latvia. OF ‘plic’ might be an irregular plural of the OF substantive ‘plication’, meaning an inflexion of paper or material, a creased fold.

These hidden poisonings proved to be a major murder story of stately proportions. From 1677 to 1682, during the reign of Louis XIV, famous aristocrats, even of the royal inner circle, became embroiled in allegations of poisonings and witchery. Thirty six people were executed after fortune tellers and alchemists had been rounded-up and tortured for their lists of buyers of “inheritance powders” and the like. The poison-pushing Midwife Monvoison, or La Voison, was arrested in 1679 and spilled the aristocratic names Mancini, Soissons, Montmerency and Montespan (the Sun King’s ex-favourite) amongst others in ‘the good and the great’ social tier of the time.

Presumably by chance  the letters of ‘Comtesse de Soissons’, ‘Francois de Montmerency’, ‘Mancini’ and ‘de Montespan’ are all available from the quatrain I 66 as is ‘Monvoisin’ which is jumbled into the letters of Line 3 and its popular derivative ‘La Voison’ which is available from the First Couplet. The young beauty who displaced de Montespan in King Louis’ eyes was   Marie-Angélique Scorailles. The letters of her complete name are in the first three lines of quatrain 1 66. The letters of the honourary title ‘Maitresse-en-titre’ are in the last three lines. Coincidence?

1 66

Celuy qui lors portera les nouuelles,

Apres vn peu il viendra respirer,

Viuiers, Tournon, Montferrant & Pradelles,

Gresle & tempeste, les fera suospirer.

Who then brings the news,
After a little he will come to breathe normally,
Viviers, Tournon, Montferrant & Pradelles,
Hail & gale makes them sigh disconsolately.

Line 2, OF ‘respirer’ is an intake of breath:

Line 4, OF ‘soupirer’ is for an output, a person making an audible exhalation to restore balance, like a death rattle but made by the living to quicken their system. Or else a sorrowful sigh.

OF ‘grêle’ here means hail, precipitated grains of ice that can be the size of a hen’s egg and are very destructive to food crops. The seemingly identical OF ‘gresle’ seems to have meant light, fine (hail).

Viviers, Tournon and Pradelles are châteaux villages in the French department of the Ardèche, famous for its castles (and there is also a Pradelles fortified village in the Haute-Loire – it’s a popular name). The frontier March of Montferrant   was part of the Kingdom of Italy/Western Leguria in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. Its size has varied down the centuries but generally equates to two modern provinces.

Interestingly, Nostredame puts together the ideas of food and security (one of our modern fears is for national ‘food security’) by linking hail (a crop killer in the Middle Ages) with castles (a symbol of strong geophysical defences).

Nostredame’s quatrains 1 41 and 166 are not fully explored here. The link is the reign of Louis XIV. This is more myself becoming increasingly curious about my unique theory that there are other words, especially names, hidden within the printed words of the quatrains. 

A War Most Participants Wanted To Finish

Europe’s winter of 1708 had been bitter and destructive leading to widespread crop failures made worse by a British naval blockade and subsequent famines.

In effect, by the beginning of 1709 the Spanish Succession War was at a draw (although in the Mediterranean the UK’s Royal Navy had gained supremacy and permanent control of critical Gibraltar and Menorca).

Mainland France had remained in one piece. Spain suffered non-permant setbacks in places but survived. (Who did the Spanish people prefer, Philip V or Charles III? It was undoubtedly Philip that they wanted most.)

As favourably considered by the parties, the Bourbon dynasty were to secure France by relinquishing Spain and its lands to the Duke of Savoy and in return Philip V would receive Savoy, Montferrat and Sicily as his own kingdom. This was mulled but never fully executed. An ill-conceived peace settlement, the Preliminaries of Hague, fell flat.

Nevertheless, the incidental objectives of the Grand Alliance against France had been achieved. France was still intact at the end, yet the army and the people were miserably depleted.

The Treaty of Utrecht called a halt and introduced the pleasing notion of a Balance of Power in Europe but may have carried forward other unpleasantness in its details, slavery’s international terms of trade in particular.

                                  NIGELRAYMONDOFFORD (C) 2018