NOSTRADAMUS, ASTROLOGY AND THE BIBLE
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The millennium model versus the Trithemian cycle
- T.W.M. van Berkel -

Nederlandse versie
 

Originally published on Encyclopaedia Hermetica

In An astrological structure in the Centuries, the millennium model was discussed briefly.[1] In this framework, the time span of the existence of the world is 8000 years, eight millennia. The Letter to Cesar contains the names of the rulers of some of them: the Moon (sixth millennium), the Sun (seventh), and Saturn (the eighth and another one). In the Epistle to Henry II, there is a reference to Saturn as being more than once a millennium ruler. The planets act as millennium rulers.
In La revolution anaragonique..., dr. Halbronn discussed the millennium model, besides other astrological theses in the NAB-project.[2] He referred to the “Trithemian cycle” of periods of 354 years and stated that the quoted passage in the Letter to Cesar does not refer to the millennium model, but to the Trithemian cycle, developed by Jean Trithème (Johannes von Heidelberg, 1462-1516).
In his introduction, dr. Halbronn made an appeal to be careful before assuming “Nostradamus has written this” or “has read that” as if he was a unique person who has written in about a dozen of years everything that has been attributed to him. The description of the millennium model in An astrological structure… does not contain arguments, which demonstrate that the quoted passage in the Letter to Cesar does not refer to the Trithemian cycle. Such a demonstration is obligatory, since the quoted passage seems to match perfectly with the ideas about the Trithemian cycle in Nostradamus’ lifetime.
This article is a rectification of this omission.

 

The Trithemian cycle as formulated by Richard Roussat 
According to Richard Roussat, Abraham Avenara (Abraham Ibn Ezra), a Jewish astrologer, described an astrological framework in the last chapter of Liber Rationum.[3] He explained that the seven planets (seven angels) one after another lead and rule the world for a period of 354 years and 4 months. The sequence of these planets (angels): Saturn, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, the Moon and the Sun. After the Sun, Saturn opens a new series of seven periods of 354 years and 4 months. Roussat also explains why Saturn opens each series of seven periods: Saturn ruled the first hour of the day on which the Sun and the Moon were created.[4]
Roussat describes the past in full length. He explains the influences of the planets in their act as rules of these periods of 354 years and 4 months, and specifies the year and the month in which each period begins.
According to Roussat, the world has been created in “5199”, which is 5200 BC.
[5] In 1549, the year in which Roussat finished his Livre de l’estat et mutation des temps, humanity was lead by the Moon.[6] The rulership of the Moon started in either 1533 or 1535 and ended in 1887. Then, the Sun took over the rulership until 2242. In 2242, the rulership is taken over by Saturn, which depends, writes Roussat, on the existence of the world around that time.[7] He makes this remark because of the first astrological framework he describes about the existence of the world. In that framework, the existence of the world is divided in four periods of 1750 years, which means that the total existence is 7000 years.[8] One might tend to think that the Trimethian cycle and other astrological frameworks, contained in Livre de l’estat… are subcycles of the fourfold cycle of 1750 years, but Roussat does not write about such a hierarchy.
Roussat makes no difference between the type of years before the birth of Jesus and the type of years after his birth. We may assume that he calculates with solar years.

 

The end of the world, according to Roussat
Roussat does not give the year in which the world will end, despite the fact that the subtitle of Livre de l’estat… is : proving by authority of the Holy Scripture and by astrological reasons that the end of the world is near.[9]
According to Roussat, the Antichrist will come in the fourth period of 1750 years. This period is analogue to Capricorn and ruled by the two malefics: Saturn (the ruler of Capricorn) and Mars (exalted in Capricorn).[10]
Roussat writes that only God knows the precise moment on which the world will end.
[11] The Last Judgment will be executed near the end of the fourth period of 1750 years. Concerning this matter, Roussat refers to the last line of the Catholic Credo : expecto resurrectionem mortuorum et vitam ventori saeculi.[12] This is also a reference to Revelations 20,14-15, which verses describe the “second resurrection”, the Last Judgment and eternal life for those who are not condemned. Roussat does not take into account the biblical kingdom of 1000 years.

 

The Preface to Cesar 

…& ceci avenir, & en brief, & avant la derniere conflagration. Car encore que la planette de Mars paracheve son siecle, & à la fin de son dernier periode, si le reprendra il […] Et maintenant que sommes conduicts par la Lune, moyennant la totale puissance de Dieu eternel, qu’avant qu’elle parachevé son total circuit, le Soleil viendra & puis Saturne. Car selon les signes celestes, le regne de Saturne sera de retour, que le tout calculé , le monde s’approche d’une anaragonique revolution: & que de present que cedy j’escrits avant cent septante sept ans trois mois onze jours, par pestilence, longue famine, & guerres…[13] 

Most of the times, the mentioning of the Moon, the Sun and Saturn in the Letter to Cesar is interpreted as a reference to the Trithemian cycle. This fragment deals with first Mars, next with the Moon, who guides humanity at the time the Letter was written (March 1, 1555), next the Sun, next Saturn. The sequence of the planets corresponds with the sequence of the rulers in the series of periods of the Trithemian cycle. The arguments in favour of this interpretation are strengthened by the mentioning of a period of 177 years, 3 months and 11 days, a little bit more than half a Trithemian period (177 years and 2 months).

This quotation was compared with a passage from Livre de l’estat... :

…& à sa fin, la Lune, qui de present gouverne, a pris le regne, qu’elle debvroit mener, pour parfaire son cours ordinaire de troys cens cinquante quatre ans quatre moys, jusques à l’an sept mil octante six ans & huict moys, et le Souleil après elle iusques à l’an sept mil quatre cens quarante & un: &, après le Souleil, debvroit aussi regner, pour la quatrieme foys, Saturne, si ce pendant le Monde ne se terminoit ou prenoit la fin…[14]

There are important differences between these quotations. In the Letter to Cesar, it reads that the rulership of Saturn returns. This is a reference to one former case of rulership. It is not a reference to two former cycles, in which Saturn acted as a ruler. In Livre de l’estat…, it reads that Saturn takes up his rulership for the fourth time, provided the world still exists. Another remarkable difference is that in the Letter to Cesar, the return of the rulership of Saturn is a given fact. In Livre de l’estat..., this rulership is questionable, depending on the existence of the world around 2241.

The stumbling block is the year 3797, the final year of the time span of the Centuries, given in the Letter to Cesar. In the NAB-project, this year is supposed to be an AD-year. This supposition has its consequences when analyzing the Letter to Cesar.
According to Roussat, the rulership of Saturn begins in 2242. The final year of the Centuries is the year 3797. Applying the Trithemian cycle to the Letter to Cesar and considering the year 3797 as an AD-year, Saturn rules from ± 2242 to ± 2596, followed by Venus (± 2596-± 2950), Jupiter (± 2950-± 3304), Mercury (± 3304-± 3658) and finally Mars (± 3658-± 4012). Such a division of time is not supported by the Centuries, the Epistle to Henry II or other parts of the Letter to Cesar.
The Letter to Cesar contains references to a sixth millennium (in which Nostradamus lives), a seventh millennium and an eight one: references to three millennia. It also contains the names of three planets in their act as rulers from eras. The conclusion, drawn in the NAB-project: the planets serve as millennium rulers; Saturn more than once and perhaps, but there is no evidence for that, Saturn rules two millennia (the eighth millennium, which is the last, and probably also the first millennium) and the other planets each one.
As for Mars in the quotation from the Letter to Cesar, the thesis in the NAB-project is that Mars is not mentioned as a ruler, but as a planet, on the verge to finish its rotation in the Zodiac at the time of a “last conflagration”. This “last conflagration” refers to a conjunction of the Sun with a planet (but not the Moon) in Pisces, under the specific circumstances that between this conjunction and the first degree of Aries there are no other planets. This means that Mars in Pisces has a lesser zodiacal longitude than the Sun. Such a configuration occurred on February 27, 1554. It implies the use of a progression system.
[15]
An interpretation in favour of the Trithemian cycle needs an explanation of the arithmetic meaning of the year 3797. 

 

The Epistle to Henry II
According to Roussat, the world was created in 5200 BC. This assumption is based on calculations by Eusebius of Cesarea, a fourth century bishop, also known as “the Father of Church history”. According to Roussat, the creation of the world coincided with the creation of Adam.[16] The “epoch” of the Trithemian cycle is the creation of Adam.
The Epistle to Henry II contains two timetables regarding the Old Testament.[17] The “epoch” of the first timetable is the creation of Adam. The “epoch” of the second timetable is the creation of the world.
The epochs of the Trithemian cycle and the timetables in the Epistle coincide, more or less. But the fact that 1555, the year in which the Letter to Cesar is written, is ruled by the Moon, is from a Trithemian point of view due to the fact that 5200 BC is the epoch-year of the Trithemian cycle. The first timetable in the Epistle covers a time span of 4757 or 4758 years. This means that the epoch year of the first timetable is 4756 BC. According to the Trithemian cycle, the first period of 354 years and 4 months of the first timetable, ruled by Saturn, begins in 4756 BC. In the model as described by Roussat, 4756 BC is in the period, ruled by Venus (4846 BC - 4492 BC). Counting from 4756 BC, the year 1555 AD is not ruled by the Moon, but by Mercury (± 1265-1619).
The second timetable in the Epistle is more complicated, since it contains a printer’s error in the case of the period Creation - Noah (mil cinq cens et six instead of mil cinquante et six) and the period Temple - Jesus is incorrect, compared with biblical data. Regarding this timetable, the thesis in the NAB-project is that the total of 4173 years and 8 months is the total of this second timetable.
[18] The epoch year of the second timetable is 4174 BC. In the model as described by Roussat, 4174 BC is in the period, ruled by Jupiter (4492 BC - 4138 BC). Counting from 4174 BC, the year 1555 AD is not ruled by the Moon, but by Jupiter (± 1494-1848).
The conclusion is that the epoch years of the first and the second timetable in the Epistle to Henry II do not support the theory about the reference to the Trithemian cycle in the Letter to Cesar.

 

Unity or diversity
The application of the Trithemian cycle to the Letter to Cesar and the Epistle to Henry II leads to chaos in both cases. In the case of the Letter to Cesar, one has to find a solution for the meaning of the year 3797. In the case of the Epistle to Henry II, the application weakens the statement in the Letter to Cesar that the year 1555 is ruled by the Moon. There is also confusion about the difference in epoch years.
The first timetable in the Epistle contains two remarks regarding historical background. The works of both Marcus Terentius Varro and Eusebius of Cesarea are not taken into account.[19] This remark is important, since the epoch year as used by Roussat is according to calculations by Eusebius. Further, it reads that the first timetable is based on the Bible, astrology and ideas of Nostradamus. The second timetable is based on the Bible only.[20] This also is an important remark, since Eusebius is left out again. In the NAB-project, it is demonstrated that this remark regarding the second timetable is correct.[21] 
The cornerstones of the millennium model are the assumptions that this model consists of eight millennia, as indicated in the Letter to Cesar, and that the year 3797 is an AD-year. The Letter to Cesar and the Epistle to Henry II are considered as written by one and the same person. This leads to counting from April 25, 4174 BC, as the epoch year of the millennium model. In this model, the year 1555 is ruled by the Moon, who rules the period 827-1827. Next comes the Sun (1827-2827), next Saturn (2827-3827). 

All this is echoed by quatrain 10-74: 

Quatrain 10-74
Au revolu du grand nombre septième
Apparaitra au temps Jeux d’Hecatombe
Non esloignée du grand age millième
Que les entrés sortiront de leur tombe.
 

The first line refers to the transition of the seventh millennium into the eighth. This can only be said because of the third line, in which a “great millennial age” is mentioned. Such an age makes no sense if, combined with the model, described by Roussat, it occurs after 2241.

Closing, but this is not really a theme to be treated at this moment, one must realize that the biblical kingdom of 1000 years plays no role in whatever model, described by Roussat. In the millennium model, this kingdom coincides with the eight millennium.


De Meern, the Netherlands, June 6, 2003
T.W.M. van Berkel

 

Notes
The titles, places and year of issue of the mentioned authors are listed in the bibliography.

  1. Van Berkel: An astrological structure in the Centuries.  [text

  2. Halbronn: Les Centuries comme commentaire des textes en prose. [text]

  3. Roussat, p.88. Liber Rationum dates from the 12th century. According to Brind’Amour, Ibn Ezra was the first to describe this framework (Brind’Amour 1996, p. 34).  [text]

  4. Roussat, p.91-92. Brind’Amour writes that Ibn Ezra based this sequence on the reversed order of the days of the week, counting backwards from Saturday (Brind’Amour 1996, p.34).  [text]

  5. Roussat, p.68.  [text]

  6. Roussat, p.95.  [text]

  7. “... après le Soleil, devroit aussi regner, pour la quatrième fois, Saturne, si cependant le Monde ne se terminoit ou prenoit la fin...” (Roussat, p.95).  [text]

  8. Roussat, p.44-87.  [text]

  9. “Prouvant par authoritez de l’Escripture Saincte, & par raisons astrologales, la fin du Monde estre prochaine“.  [text]

  10. Roussat, p.63.  [text]

  11. Roussat, p.162.  [text

  12. I expect the rise from the dead and eternal life (Roussat, p.83).  [text

  13. Nostradamus 1568, p.34. [text]

  14. Roussat, p.95.  [text]

  15. Van Berkel: A time schedule in the Prophecies; An astrological structure in the Centuries.  [text]

  16. “... Adam, Prothoplauste & homme premier, fut crée du costé de Mydi avec toute la machine du Monde...” (Roussat, p.47).  [text]

  17. Nostradamus 1568, pp.157 and 166-167.  [text]

  18. Van Berkel: A time schedule in the Prophecies.  [text]

  19. Nostradamus 1568, p.157.  [text]

  20. Nostradamus 1568, p.167.  [text]

  21. Van Berkel, lecture, p.3-5.  [text]

 
 

 
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