Nostradamus, the Man Who Saw Through Time, by Lee McCann , at sacred-texts.com
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,
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 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
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
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.