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Nostradamus, the Man Who Saw Through Time, by Lee McCann [1941], at

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Claude de Savoie


CLAUDE DE SAVOIE, Duke de Villars, Marshal-General of France, and the man who was "more like Mars than Narbonne," was the hero of France in the War of the Spanish Succession. That tragic struggle, which involved all Europe from 1701 to 1713, is now chiefly notable for the victories of the Duke of Marlborough, whose reputation has overshadowed that of the scarcely less brilliant Villars.

The story of the war, told by Nostradamus virtually in headlines, is extraordinary for its coverage and detail. His prophecy was superb, if his reporting was somewhat prejudiced in favor of his King.

In these verses, as in a number of others about Louis XIV, the prophet calls Louis the "Æmathion," which means a Macedonian Greek. The term is a good illustration of Nostradamus’ power of condensed, laconic expression in which art he could have given lessons to Lacon of Sparta. In this one word, Æmathion, he has made an historical commentary on Le Grand Monarque. The Capetian kings had a real, if shadowy,

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claim to the blood of Alexander the Great since the days when a Russian princess, descended from Philip of Macedon, Alexander's father, had married an early king of France. Alexander the Great repudiated the paternity of Philip, and called himself the son of the Sun, claiming Apollo for his father. History has repudiated the paternity of the Sun-king, Louis XIV, and his true father is unknown. Both Alexander and Louis were warriors. The conquests of the former were dissipated after he died, while Louis outlived his winnings, which went in this war.


The world will be approaching its last cycle,
Saturn will be nearing its slow re-entry (into Aries),
The empire (of Spain) will pass to a Germanic nation,
The eye of the man of Narbonne will be torn out by those around him.


Because of a death, France will undertake a foreign expedition,
The fleet will put to sea, the army will cross the Pyrenees,
Spain, in a difficult situation, will set her army in motion
Because royal ladies were conducted into France.

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The great Monarch will associate himself with
Two rulers united to him in bonds of friendship,
Oh, how the royal household shall sigh,
What piteous conditions are around the son of Narbonne!


The great Æmathion will hold the harbor-mouth at Blaye
Now cleared of English and Rochellese resistance,
The Gauls who wait for help near Agen
Will be fooled in their enterprise, the help will be for the man of Narbonne.


Savoy approaches, his military array stretches from Lake Geneva,
The great leaders draw up their lines of strength,
Far from the heirs, there will be great fighting around Geneva,
All the people will be involved in flight.


Livestock savage with hunger will cross rivers,
The greater part of the field will be encamped over against the Danube,
The great general will be taken prisoner (Villefroy)
While German youth are keeping watch on the Rhine.

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The Foreign Soldier will smite the great Monarch
Unjustly, when he is already near his end,
The avaricious mother will be the cause of his activity
And plotter and realm will greatly repent of it.


The great Celtic prelate suspected by his king
Will lay a course by night and leave the kingdom,
Arranged by the ingenious Duke acting for his British king,
He (the Cardinal) will pass through the towns of Belgium undiscovered.


The armies of the Æmathion will cross the Pyrenees,
Mars of Narbonne will not be able to withstand the enemy,
On land and sea so great will be the enemy's advance
That the house of Capet can occupy no terrain in safety.


At Arras, Bourges and in Germany the standards of the mighty will be raised,
A large number of Gascons will fight in the infantry, p. 333
Soldiers from up and down the Rhone will shed Spanish blood
Close to the mountain where Sagunto sits.


The two royal brothers of Spain will be driven out,
The elder will be vanquished beneath the Pyrenees mountains,
The Rhone, Lake Constance and Germany will be red with blood,
Narbonne, eastern Berry and Ath will be regions soiled by the invasions.


Fear of the army of Narbonne's enemy
Will terrify the Spaniards very greatly,
Perpignon will be emptied through the blindness of Narbonne,
Barcelona will be taken by naval attack at the point of the pike.


The French fleet, supporting the country's defense,
Will be in conflict with great Neptune and his trident soldiers,
Provence will be gnawed to the bone to sustain the horde of troops,
The general who is more like Mars than Narbonne will be attacked by the javelins and darts of the enemy.

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Presage I

The Ocean and the Tyrrhenian Sea will be under the anchor-watch
Of mighty Neptune and his trident soldiers,
But Provence will be held in safety by the army of the great Tende,
The heroic Villars whose nature will be more like Mars than Narbonne.

The mutation of Saturn and Jupiter in the warlike sign Aries introduced the conflict. Spain was already declining, and Austria was the continental rival of France. Two Spanish princesses married two French Kings, Louis XIII and XIV. The Spanish King, dying without heir, willed his realm to the part-Spanish grandson of Louis XIV. Spain was divided over this arrangement, and the rest of Europe strenuously objected to it. So Louis marched, the others countermarched with a counter claimant, and the fight was on with everybody in it, including England.

Louvet, Louis’ war minister, was so jealous of Villars that he would not give him command until a series of disasters had made the French situation desperate. Marshal Villefroy, commanding for the French against Prince Eugene of Savoy and the Duke of Marlborough, was beaten and taken prisoner. Louis started out with two weak allies, and only a German Elector stayed with him. Villars was given command after the damage

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had been done; he couldn't then stand up against Marlborough, and failed in one battle to foresee his moves. He had his eyes snatched out metaphorically in several ways. The fighting raged from the Danube to the west coast of Spain, and from the lowlands to the Midi. This war saw the first use of the technique so familiar today, the large-scale devastation of areas affecting civilian population, and it was France that used it. Louis was criticized by the rest of the civilized world for doing it. "Livestock maddened by hunger"--but the prophet wouldn't say that it was Louis' fault. Capet could do no wrong.

"The Foreign Soldier" is the Duke of Marlborough. Nostradamus sees him attacking Louis, then an old man, unjustly. The avaricious mother who put him up to it was Queen Anne's England. Marlborough was recalled, and English feeling later turned against him. He was criticized on the home front for the enormous slaughter of Englishmen which marked his victories. Villars said to Louis after Malplaquet, "If our enemies win one more such victory they are ruined."

The Celtic prelate was the Cardinal de Bouillon, who left France and traveled secretly across Belgium under an escort from Marlborough.

Both candidates for the Spanish throne were in turn driven out, but eventually Louis' grandson carried the day, with the rival, descendant of an elder branch, out of the picture, and the era of the Spanish Bourbons began.

England's trident soldiers won her Gibraltar in this

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war and gave her "the anchor-watch" of the Mediterranean.

In the early part of the war, the Camisards, French Protestants, revolted and expected help would come from the coalition; they awaited it near Agen, but Villars broke their revolt, and the help did not come.

Villars was more than a match for Prince Eugene, and after Marlborough had gone home, won the spectacular victory over him at Denain, which ended the war. Voltaire called Villars "fanfaron plein d’honneur," which is very close to "more Mars than Narbonne." Nostradamus often uses the part to denote the whole. He does this in his mention of "Provence will be safely held--" He means France, but he wanted to imply a tribute too in the recollection which Provence evokes of the earlier Claude de Savoie, his friend, whose valor was more exclusively associated with that part of France.

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