Sunday, November 2, 2008

Nostradamus Prophecy: The Death of Henry II

Le lyon jeune le vieux surmontera,
En champ bellique par singulier duelle:
Dans caige d’or les yeux luy creuera,
Deux classes vne, puis mourir, mort cruelle.

“The young lion will overcome the old one,
On the field of battle in single combat:
He will burst his eyes in a cage of gold,
Two fleets one, then to die, a cruel death.”

In the summer of 1559 the daughter of Henry II married Philip II of Spain and Marguerite, the sister of Henry II, married the Duke of Savoy. Part of the “double wedding” celebrations included jousting. Henry rode against Gabriel de Lorges, Comte de Montgomery, but failed to unseat him and tried again. Montgomery’s lance shattered as the two jousters collided and a splinter entered Henry’s helmet, pierced his skull above his right eye, and penetrated his brain. Henry collapsed and ten days later died.

Does the above quatrain prophesy the death of Henry, as many claim? In his introduction to the second section of the Centuries on March 14, 1557 Nostradamus drafted a lengthy and fawning epistle to Henry II which runs as follows: “Ever since my long-clouded face first presented itself before the infinite deity of your majesty, O most Christian and most victorious king, I have remained perpetually dazzled by that sight, not ceasing to honor and worship appropriately that date when I presented myself… I was seized with this singular desire to be transported suddenly from my long-beclouded obscurity to the illuminating presence of the first Monarch of the Universe….” (source “The Mask of Nostradamus by James Randi).

There is no evidence in this Epistle written two years before Henry II’s death that Nostradamus foresaw the imminent death of his “most Christian and most victorious king”. Had the epistle been prophesying the death of Henry II, one would believe that Nostradamus would have warned Henry.

Montgomery was younger than Henry but only a few years so “The young lion will overcome the old one” is not significant.

James Randi in his expositive book “The Mask of Nostradamus” points out that the French have never used the lion as a symbol of monarchy. Their animal symbol was the fighting cock.

With respect to the second line of the quatrain, “On the field of battle in single combat,” a joust is not a “field of battle” but more of a contest. Serious injuries were not expected to occur. Furthermore if one insists that a joust is a battle, Henry’s death was not the result of a “single” combat. Henry failed to unseat Montgomery in the first sally, Henry asked for another try. Montgomery deferred to his king’s request. There was, therefore, a “second” combat.

“He will burst his eyes in a cage of gold” does not reflect Henry’s fate as neither of his eyes was burst. Montgomery’s lance pierced Henry’s skull above the king’s right eye.

Gold is soft and does not afford protection. Jousting helmets were not made of gold except for decorative overlays or attached emblems.

The last verse “Two fleets one, then to die, a cruel death” aren’t really relevant to the demise of Henry II, except that his death was cruel or perhaps more accurately “tragic” as cruelty implies that intent from a perpetrator, which was not the case here. Montgomery’s injury was the result of accident not intent.

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