According to biographies of Nostradamus (d. 1566), partial editions
of the prophecies were published in 1555 and 1557, followed by a
complete edition in 1568. The next publication, a partial edition, was
dated 1588, and the twenty-year gap in publications is inexplicable if,
as reported, Nostradamus was already a famous prophet during his
lifetime. Moreover, this period of French history, from 1568 to 1588,
was marked by widespread superstitions (highly conducive for the sale of
prophetic books) and by vicious religious warfare between Catholics and
Protestants, but there is no record of either side citing a specific
prophecy for propaganda purposes.
All of the early editions, dated 1555, 1557, and 1568, respectively,
reflect corrections of manuscript-reading errors found in the partial
edition dated 1588 or in the complete edition dated 1590, that is, the
earlier editions were very likely backdated. Above all, the Nostradamus
prophecies reflect explicit familiarity with the defeat of the Spanish
Armada (1588) and with the rise of Henry IV to the throne of France
(1589). Consequently, there is ample reason to question Nostradamus
authorship of the prophecies attributed to him.
If Nostradamus did not write the famous prophecies, then who did? The
prophecies refer to large number of ancient places, many quite obscure,
scattered across Europe, Asia, and North Africa. In the 16th century,
there was only one writer whose nomenclature matched that of
Nostradamus, place by place, all across the ancient world. That writer
did not live in France. He lived in England, and his name was William
The Shakespeare Authorship Enigma
There appears to be no historical record that William Shakespeare,
widely recognized as the greatest writer ever in English history, had an
education of any type. His home town of Stratford-upon-Avon did indeed
have a grammar school, but since the school's attendance records have
vanished, there can be no confirmation that Shakespeare actually
attended. No teacher or student of that grammar school has acknowledged
having known him. Shakespeare's parents and children are reported to
have been illiterate and some have suspected the same for Shakespeare
The characters in Shakespeare's plays blurt out sentences in many
foreign languages but that grammar school, if Shakespeare attended,
appears to have taught only Latin and perhaps Greek. His plays display
considerable insider knowledge of royal courts and royal families but
Shakespeare is not known for having contacts with royalty. His plays
express familiarity with Italy but Shakespeare apparently never traveled
outside of England. His plays make use of a vast number of books as
source material but Shakespeare is not known to have had contact with
any of the few people in England who had a library. His Will makes no
mention of his owning books or having unpublished plays, nothing at all
in connection with writing. No manuscript or letter of his has survived,
nor has such been recorded as seen by anyone, reaffirming suspicions
that he was illiterate.
What the massive Shakespearean canon does not do is
make any mention at all of his hometown of Stratford, where William was
born, grew up, died, and maintained a residence throughout life.
Perhaps with just a single reference to Stratford, or a single
dedication to his wife or children, the Shakespeare authorship question
would have never arisen. But, in fact, there is nothing in the entire
canon that would link authorship of the plays to William of Stratford.
For the above reasons and more, several people in the past, including
distinguished writers like Mark Twain, have questioned the authenticity
of Shakespeare's authorship of the famous plays. For these few
individuals, a thousand testimonials swearing that Shakespeare was
Shakespeare cannot change the fact that a man with Shakespeare
background could not have possibly written those plays. But those rare
outcries of doubt have been crushed by the establishment and it is now
almost universally accepted by scholars that Shakespeare was
Shakespeare. The published plays clearly state "by William Shakespeare."
End of story.
Shakespeare died in 1616 and a collection of his plays (First Folio)
was published in 1623. The First Folio included quite a few plays that
were never published previously, from where the skeptical among us might
surmise that some of them were written between 1616 and 1623, that is,
after Shakespeare's death. Unfortunately, it has never occurred to the
anti-Stratfordians that they should be looking for a candidate who was
still alive in 1623. Instead, they insist that the Earl of Oxford (who
died in 1604) or Christopher Marlowe (who died in 1593) was the real
Shakespeare. This makes the anti-Stratfordians just as ridiculous as the
Stratfordians: illiterate men cannot write plays, but neither can dead
The "dead man" argument that the Stratfordians have so
effectively employed against the anti-Stratfordians can in fact be
turned around and applied against the Stratfordians because, as just
noted, several plays only came to light in 1623, seven years after the
death of William of Stratford.
The Marlovians, for their part, argue that Marlowe merely staged his
death, but what the Marlovians fail to comprehend is that it makes
absolutely no difference whether or not Marlowe died in 1593 because
they cannot prove that Marlowe wrote Marlowe. After all, if Shakespeare
was a fake, why not Marlowe too? If anything, arguments that Marlowe
wrote Marlowe are weaker than arguments that Shakespeare wrote
Shakespeare. Just ask yourself: Who is more likely to write a high
quality play: A full-time spy working in the Netherlands, or a part-time
actor working in the London theater?
It was just insinuated that Marlowe joins Shakespeare in the field of
authorship conspiracy. As you may have already surmised, Nostradamus
completes the trio, and as we shall see, a secret society sponsored the
works of all three.
Re Satan and Shakespeare: "They are the best-known unknown persons that have ever drawn breath upon the planet." --Mark Twain
"I am 'a sort of' haunted by the conviction that the
divine William is the biggest and most successful fraud ever practiced
on a patient world." --Henry James
It is not surprising that great writers like Mark Twain and Henry
James are first and foremost in expressing doubts about William of
Stratford. Being accomplished writers themselves, they -- more than
anyone else -- know that you cannot write about Greek mythology and all
the rest in multiple languages without having an education that far
exceeds grammar school. And having enormous love for literature, as all
great writers do, they -- more than anyone else -- cannot imagine
allowing their children to grow up illiterate. The who, why, and how may
not be known, but enough is known about William of Stratford to
conclude that he is definitely not the one.
The Nostradamus Authorship Enigma
With the conclusion that Marlowe and Shakespeare used Nostradamus as
source material, there is an implied assumption that the prophecies of
Nostradamus predate the writing careers of Marlowe and Shakespeare.
Wikipedia notes that a French scholar is effectively challenging that
assumption: "A range of quite different views are expressed in printed
literature and on the Internet. At one end of the spectrum, there are
extreme academic views such as those of Jacques Halbronn, suggesting at
great length and with great complexity that Nostradamus's Prophecies are
antedated forgeries written by later hands with a political axe to
Specifically, Halbronn believes that the prophecies were written in
1588/89 because of the line "Garde toy Tours de ta proche ruine" found
in prophecy IV-46. At that time, King Henry III of France joined forces
with Henry of Navarre (the future King Henry IV) near Tours.
The first prophecy in the second part of Nostradamus' book also looks retroactive:
Here, in prophecy VIII-1, we find "Pau" (the place of birth of Henry
of Navarre) and "Pamplon" (Pamplona, capital of Navarre), and in
prophecy VIII-44 we encounter "Pau" and "Navarre," reflecting, in both
cases, awareness of the rise of Henry of Bourbon, then King of Navarre,
to the throne of France, which occurred in 1589.
Similar to how the first prophecy of the second part of Nostradamus
reflects knowledge of recent events (1589), the last prophecy of the
second part also reflects knowledge of recent events:
Prophecy X-100 predicts a great empire for England based on its
domination of the seas (the "pempotam"), something that could not be
imagined until after the miraculous defeat of the Spanish Armada in
1588. The point is that the Spanish Armada did not depart from Spain. It
departed from Lisbon, capital of Lusitania (the "Lusitains"). Moreover,
prophecy X-48 puts the Spanish at the ends of Europe, i.e. sailing
around the British Isles, and this too alludes to the Spanish Armada.
Between the edition dated 1568 and the edition dated 1590, there is
no historical record of the publication of the three hundred prophecies
numbered VIII-1 through to X-100 anywhere in the world, and this in
itself is sufficient to cast serious doubt on the authenticity of the
edition of 1568. And this could leave us with quite a mystery: we find
instances of Marlowe using the second part of Nostradamus as source
material before the second part ever saw the light of day. Some of Marlowe predates Nostradamus, not the other way around.
The Nostradamus Bibliographic Enigma
The first verifiable publication of the Nostradamus prophecies in
England, in either French or English, occurred in the year 1672, quite a
few decades after the death of Marlowe and Shakespeare.
The Library of the British Museum has French publications of the
prophecies dated 1588 and 1589 respectively, but these are partial
editions containing only seven of the ten Centuries. However, Marlowe
and Shakespeare borrow from the last three Centuries as well as from the
The earliest French publication of all ten Centuries in the Library
of the British Museum is dated 1605 (more than a decade after the death
of Marlowe and subsequent to many Shakespearean plays).
The only publication of all ten Centuries prior to the time of
Marlowe and Shakespeare is a rare edition dated 1568. This edition is
not mentioned in the first biography of Nostradamus (1594), does not
appear in bibliographies of French books of the late 16th century, and
has yet to be found in the catalog of any British library of the
The Rigaud edition dated 1568 includes numerous refinements and
corrections of manuscript-reading errors found in the Cahors edition of
1590. This makes it likely that the Rigaud edition postdates 1590.
Many frauds (false dates) of the Nostradamus prophecies have been
identified by experts. In contrast to most of these recognized frauds,
the 1568 edition displays plausible orthography for the 16th century (as
opposed to the orthography of the 17th or 18th century), but it has
never been subjected to dating via radiocarbon analysis.
It has been pointed out that there are striking disparities between
the Nostradamus edition of 1568 and other Benoist Rigaud publications of
the same epoch.
These disparities encompass fonts (note the Y's in LYON), style (e.g., RIGAVD versus Rigaud), typography (e.g., permiſſion versus permiſsion),
and artwork (less intricate). Two editions of Nostradamus by an elderly
Benoist Rigaud (each dated 1594 for the first part and 1596 for the
second part) that were in the possession of bibliographer Daniel Ruzo
have mysteriously vanished and hence are unavailable for comparison.
A French scholar has raised doubts about the authenticity of the
Nostradamus prophecies. Wikipedia: "A range of quite different views are
expressed in printed literature and on the Internet. At one end of the
spectrum, there are extreme academic views such as those of Jacques
Halbronn, suggesting at great length and with great complexity that
Nostradamus's Prophecies are antedated forgeries written by later hands
with a political axe to grind." Halbronn's Researches are available
online. CONCLUSION: The argument that the prophecies of Nostradamus
predate the writing careers of Marlowe and Shakespeare cannot be
sustained, opening up the possibility that these playwrights played a
role in the redaction of the prophecies.
On the next two pages, we will take a look at a historian and then a
philosopher whose writings, like the plays of Marlowe and Shakespeare,
reflect a close connection with the prophecies of Nostradamus.