Background – Nostradamus
Nostradamus was a supposed seer from the 16th century. He wrote over 900 quatrains (a 4 line poem) which many have noted for their prophetic content. The poems were mainly written in French but also included some Latin, Greek and Italian.
We only speak English so are relying on translations of others. Furthermore, we are not historians and not going to bother with references. If you are interested, you can look up Nostradamus’s writings yourself. They are easily available online. That said, we did strive to be as factually correct as we could.
People have claimed Nostradamus predicted a number of things: The death of Henry II, the 1666 fire of London, JFK’s assassination, the death of Princess Diana and many more. This two-part article is about a different prophecy though. One that entails three Antichrists. Two of which supposedly have already been accounted for. Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler.
You might claim that other tragedies like the rape of Nanjing, Pol Pot’s reign, Stalin’s purges or the Armenian genocide discount Nostradamus’s predictions about an Antichrist. These atrocities are just as vile as Napoleon’s, but, while the term Antichrist conjures up the image of an evil person hellbent on destroying the entire world, in the case of the quatrain prophecies it seems only those responsible for death and destruction in or around France are refered to as an Antichrist.
Being French, it is entirely reasonable to assume that Nostradamus thought of anyone inflicting massive amounts of death on his country as an Antichrist. This is why his predictions pertain to Napoleon and Hitler, who both caused the death of many Frenchmen, and not Stalin, Pol Pot or Imperial Japan, who dominated in their own dominions.
In fact, Nostradamus’s third Antichrist won’t even destroy the world. After the long and devastating 27 year war, we will supposedly see a “peace of a thousand years.”
The First Antichrist – Napoleon Bonaparte
In 1799 Napoleon, who was Emperor until 1814, signed the ‘Constitution of the Year VIII’, effectively ending the revolution and beginning his rule, which coincides with Nostradamus’s prediction: ‘For fourteen years he will hold the tyranny.’
Napoleon, a minor lord from the obscure island of Corsica, was only able to rise through the military ranks due to the chaos of the French Revolution – categorizsed by the power of the people (embodied by the San Culotte) who saw the execution of Louis VXI after his imprisonment in the Square du Temple.
From the enslaved people, songs, chants and demands
Princes and Lords are held captive in prisons
Napoleon, the first of his name, conquered Italy, invaded Spain (despite being allied with them) and continued the French tradition of warring against the English, while taking many foreign lovers. Marie Louise (Austrian), Marie Walewska (Polish), Giuseppina Grassini (Italian and, interestingly, went on to become a lover of The Duke of Wellington, the man who finally defeated Napoleon at Waterloo).
Of a name which was never held by a French King
Never was there so terrible a thunderbolt
Italy, Spain and the English tremble;
He will be greatly attentive to foreign women.
Napoleon’s first exile banished him to the Italian island of Elba to rule as a sovereign. For Elba’s flag, Napoleon chose a red diagonal stripe with three bees across it. Ten years earlier, when the French Empire was proclaimed in 1804, Napoleon set about designing his coat of arms. Originally deciding on a lion (supposedly because it would be more menacing than England’s leopard), Napoleon changed his mind and decreed an eagle instead. As you can see below, the eagle was draped in cloak of bees.
The great swarm of bees will arise
But whence they came no-one will know.
While a French province, the island of Corsica is much closer to Italy.
An Emperor will be born near Italy
Who will cost the Empire dearly
It will be said when his allies are seen
That he is less a Prince than a butcher
Significant is the use of the word Empire. Before Napoleon, France had never had an Emperor. Pre-Revolution France was a Kingdom, ruled by Kings.
In addition to his military ability, Napoleon is also known for the many lives lost on his account. For instance, due to Napoleon’s insisted haste, twenty people drowned just getting off the ships after landing at Alexandria.
Furthermore, the Revolution militarised the French public, providing Napoleon with a much larger pool of soldiers (or cannon fodder) than his rival European powers. Napoleon himself said: “You cannot stop me, I spend 30,000 men a month.”
From a simple soldier he will aspire to Empire.
From a short robe he will aspire to the long.
Valiant in arms, harsh toward the Church,
He angers the priesthood as water fills a sponge
Starting out as a lowly soldier, Napoleon only came to the fore by pure chance (and because of his instinct for artillery) in the Siege of Toulon. Just as his Revolutionary predecessors, Napoleon placed France above the church, even going so far as to imprison two popes and confiscate the Church’s property after conquering Malta on his way to Egypt.
Napoleon, the eagle and master cannoneer, gave his most famous speech (“Soldiers, you are ill-fed and half naked…”) before his invasion of Italy.
Before the assault a speech is made.
Milan is tricked by ambush and captured by the Eagle
The ancient walls are breached by canon,
By fire and blood – few survive
England could only look at the growing power of their ancient rival as France sacked Italy, said to be represented by the Italian river Po in the following quatrain:
The Great Po will from a Frenchman receive great harm
Vain terror to the Lion of the Sea
Many people will cross over the sea;
A quarter of a million will not survive
On route to conquer Egypt, Napoleon sunk a British ship in the Mediterranean, which connects with the Adriatic sea. The British retaliated and destroyed his fleet while docked at Alexandria, leaving Napoleon stranded amongst the pyramids where he unleashed his firepower on the primitive forces.
The fleet is wrecked near the Adriatic,
The earth trembles and blows up
Egypt trembles, the Mahomeddans increase
The herald is sent to ask for surrender
When Napoleon – who people still associate with being short – surrendered, he was exiled to Elba to live on in the ashes of his Empire. But, like a phoenix rising form its ashes, Napoleon escaped from exile and traveled back to France to claim his Kingdom.
From prison or exile exits the brave and small rider
The spirit of the emperor, the phoenix,
In shall be seen what cannot be seen in anyone else.
Roughly three months later, Napoleon – the eagle – met Prussia and England – the leopard – at the battle of Waterloo.
On the third month after his escape and at sunrise,
The Boar and the Leopard will join forces on the battlefield,
The tired Leopard, in the afternoon, looks heavenward,
In the sun, which is facing him, he sees an eagle being defeated.
After the defeat of Waterloo, Napoleon was exiled for the second and final time. To be Emperor of the Saint Helena, one of smallest and most isolated islands in the world, where the great Emperor would die.
The great Empire will soon be exchanged for a small place,
Which will soon begin to grow.
A small place of small area,
In the middle of which he will come to lay down his sceptre.
Napoleon consolidated his reign with military might, with fire, rather than royal blood.
PAU, NAY, LORON will be more of fire than of the blood,
To swim in praise, the great one to flee to the confluence.
He will refuse entry to the Piuses,
The depraved ones and the Durance will keep them imprisoned.
While Pau, Nay and (O)Loron are all French towns in the south west, many people rearrange the letters to spell NAPAULON ROY which, supposedly, translates to Napoleon King. Whereas the last two lines are meant to refer to Popes Pius VI and Pius VII who Napoleon imprisoned.
The Second Antichrist – Adolf Hitler
The second Antichrist: born in ‘Noricum’ (the ancient name for Austria), becomes a ‘Captain of Greater Germany’, takes a ‘crooked cross’ as his symbol and sends the people of ‘Irale’ into a great furnace.
Just as Nostradamus came close to naming Napoleon with ‘PAU NAY LORON’, he also nearly named Hitler outright, writing ‘Hister’. Some argue that this is a translation fault, a simple mistake – a seer cannot be 100% exact in their predictions. While others note that Hister is the Latin name for the Danube river near Linz, where Hitler grew up.
Out of the deepest part of the west of Europe,
From poor people a young child shall be born,
Who with his tongue shall seduce many people,
His fame shall increase in the Eastern Kingdom
Born into a poor family, Hitler was known for his oratory skills and formed the Axis Alliance with the Eastern Empire of Japan as well as Italy.
The great speech-maker audaciously and un-shamefully,
Shall get himself elected as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces,
By the boldness of his disputes,
He shall cease all diplomatic relations, in the city the fearful shall re-arm themselves
In this quatrain, the ‘fearful’ might refer to the Jews who Hitler villainised. But it could just as easily refer to those not fearful of Hitler but fearful because of Hitler. Take Kristallnacht for example, when the German public armed themselves and pillaged Jewish businesses, synagogues and homes. It could also represent Germany’s rearmament in violation of the treaty of the Versailles.
He shall come to tyrannize the land
He shall raise up a hatred that had long been dormant
The child of Germany observes no law
Cries, and tears, fire, blood, and battle
Anti-Semitism has a long history. The early Modern Period, the Middle Ages and all the way back to the Classical Period of ancient history. Hitler brought it to the fore of contemporary German society and used it as the fuel for the Nazi war machine.
The exiles deported to the Isles, By a very cruel Monarch
They shall be killed and then their bodies burned,
Because they had been marked
Translation: A cruel King will exile the jews, kill them and burn their bodies. They have been marked (with yellow stars).
In just six weeks, Hitler’s forces conquered France, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg.
The French shall be in great need,
Their hopeless hearts, not believing in recklessness or foolhardiness,
In need of bread, salt, wine, water, unable to purchase,
Held captives, hungry, cold and many lacking the necessities of life
The three Axis nations war against the Allied powers of the US, the Soviet Union, the UK, Canada, China, France, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, South Africa, Holland, Yugoslavia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Ethiopia, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Columbia, the Philippines and Cuba resulted in more casualties than any other human conflict.
A captain of Germany shall come to yield himself by false hope,
So that his revolt shall cause great bloodshed.
Beasts wild with hunger will cross the rivers
The greater part of the battlefield will be against Hister
Hitler’s aerial bombing against the UK, known as the Battle of Britain, was one of the biggest air battles of all time. After the attack, in what became known as The Blitz, the English frequently sought shelter in the country’s famed subway, or train lines.
Inside the Islands there shall be such horrible commotion,
Nothing shall be seen but warlike preparation,
So great shall the assaulting be
That the Islanders shall seek shelter at the great line
Italian Resistance fighters captured Mussolini on 27 April 1945 and executed him the next day. With his neighbour and ally dead, Hitler killed himself the following day while German forces spent the next week laying down their arms.
The Roman Power shall be removed,
His great neighbour shall follow in his footsteps,
Hated shall this system be, causing many quarrels,
The crazy men shall be stopped