Les deux quatrains "86" du couronnement (September 14, 2008)
J. Halbronn D.Litt. - 

Nederlandse versie

J. Halbronn D.Litt.A long time ago, we drew attention to quatrain VII-24 and its last line: Grand de Lorraine par le Marquis du Pont, in which the claims of the House of Lorraine in 1593-1594 to the French throne are described.[1] On January 26, 1593, the League convocated the Etats Generaux to decide who would become the new French king or queen. There were numerous candidates: Claire-Isabelle of Spain (1566-1633), Charles-Emmanuel I de Savoie, duke of Savoie, Charles III de Lorraine, duke of Lorraine and two members of the catholic House of Bourbon. In the end, Henri de Navarre, who on May 17, 1593, announced his conversion to Catholicism, managed to put an end to this manoeuvre.
Charles III de Lorraine, born in 1543, was also Marquis of Pont (à Mousson), a fact from which quatrain VII-24 resulted. He pretended to be entitled to the French throne and ordered the Arch Diacre of Toul, François de Rosières, to publish the Stemmata, which would show a Carolingians ancestry. Actually, Charles III should have called himself Charles II, if one would leave out Charles I of Lorraine Minor, who deceased in 991. We note that in 1559, Charles III married with Claude, a daughter of Henry II. 
In 1593 the Satyre Ménippée ironized the matter like this: Prouvez-y par voz romans, Que venez des Carlomans / Les bonnes gens après boire, Quelque chose en pourront croire. The Carlomans are the Carolingians, descendants of Charlemagne. This satire, well known in those days, first circulated as a handwritten piece before it was taken into print, which according to us has also been the course of things in the Centuries, which originally had a substantial different form than the one we know today, taking into account the many changes and additions such as the indication Chastres, which was changed into Chartres (see infra). More than twenty years ago, Chantal Liaroutzos, in her study of the Guide des Voyages (1553) by Charles Estienne, showed that this travel guide was used many times, which made it possible to restore the original state of a number of quatrains.[2]
Quatrain IV-86, a quatrain of the part, added to century IV, i.e. next to quatrain IV-53, deserves every attention:

L'an que Saturne en eau sera conjoinct,
Auecques Sol,le Roy fort & puissant
A Reims & Aix sera receu & oingt,
Apres conquestes meurtrira innocent.

Without any doubt, Aix, given the "Carolingian" claims of the duke, is Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen); Reims is the city where the French kings were crowned and "anointed", hence the word oingt at the end of the third verse of quatrain IV-86. Until 1531, all German emperors were crowned in Aix-la-Chapelle, Charles V in 1520. In this quatrain, the dream of the French kings to become the emperor of Germany is described. Because of his intermediary position between France and Germany, Charles III might have the idea to realize this possibility.

Recently, we connected this quatrain with another one:

Du bourg lareyne parviendront droit à Chartres
Et seront pres du pont Anthoni pause
Sept pour la paix cauteleux comme Martres
Feront entree d'armée à Paris clause

This quatrain, quatrain IX-86, refers to the coronation in the beginning of 1594 of Henri de Navarre, which took place not in Reims, but in Chartres, which in quatrain IX-86 resulted in a change of the toponym Chastres into Chartres. As far as the word Martres is concerned, Jean Guernon objects that it cannot correspond with Montmartre, where Henri IV was installed during the 1590-siege of Paris, because Nostradamus (sic) by no means could have split the toponym Montmartre in two parts.[3] The problem is that this quatrain was not written by Nostradamus and that a toponym can be perverted.
Remarkably enough, this quatrain is the 86th quatrain of the ninth century! A striking symmetry appears with these two quatrains "86", one of them being part of the first volume of the Centuries; the other one being part of the second volume. We remind that in the first centuries, according to us, the interests of the League were defended and in the last centuries, the interests of the reformed Bourbons.
In two quatrains, a coronation is mentioned. One might think that once quatrain IV-86 preceded quatrain IX-86, like the warning to Rome in quatrain X-65 (O vaste Rome, ta ruyne s'approche) corresponds with the warning to Tours in quatrain IV-46 (Garde toy, Tours, de ta proche ruyne). We remind that the quatrains at the end of century IV are older than the ones at the beginning of this century.
One objects that quatrain IV-46 precedes quatrain IV-53, but elsewhere we explained that in 1588 an edition of the Centuries was published in Rouen, which consisted of four centuries, but which did not include this quatrain.[4] The formation of century IV had three phases:
- phase 1: without quatrain 46 (a total of 49 quatrains, without the quatrains 44 to 47)
- phase 2: including quatrain 46 (a total of 53 quatrains)
- phase 3: including quatrain 86 (a total of 100 quatrains)
The 1557-DuRosne-editions contain quatrain IV-86 in the same form as the 1568-editions (and probably, the forged 1558-edition, lost) contained quatrain IX-86. From 1588, quatrain IV-86 was part of the Parisian editions. At the end of the 1580's, the duke of Lorraine subjugated himself to the League. It looks as if quatrains, in favour of the duke, which first have been published independently, later were included in the centuries, or that quatrains were compiled with the intention to let them be a part of the Centuries.
Anyway, there are strong indications to situate the "final wording" of the centuries VIII to X in the years 1588-1593, which make them contemporary publications of the Ianus Gallicus, a comment in which the comment upon quatrains of shortly published editions was integrated with the Présages. Regarding the first volume of seven centuries, we only know the 1590-Antwerp-edition, for which the title has been already used by the Rouen-editions, but in which century VII consists of only 35 quatrains. The first editions known today containing the centuries VIII-X - apart from the forged 1568-Rigaud-editions - did not appear before the last decade of the 16th century. The first edition with this group might have been published by Jacques Rousseau in Cahors, a city in the South West of France, not specially known for its publishing activity. Afterwards, the Lyon Rigaud-family seems to have obtained the monopoly of the X century editions, Lyon, where was also published, in 594, the Ianus Gallicus which includes commentaries on quatrains from the ten centuries. The publication of the ten centuries illustrated symbolically an intention of national reconciliation, under Henry IV which lead in 1598 to the Edit de Nantes.


Paris, September 14, 2008
Jacques Halbronn, D.Litt


As Theo van Berkel noted, the beginning of quatrain IV-86 might very well deal with the year 1593 which in the eyes of the League would be the year of a new coronation, in which they would have been right, were it not that Henri de Navarre had cut the other candidates off by means of his conversion.
Quatrain IV-86 begins like this:

L'an que Saturne en eau sera conjoinct
Avecques Sol, le Roi fort & puissant

In 1592, Saturn entered the zodiacal sign of Cancer, one of the water signs. Annually, the Sun conjuncts Saturn, which means that in itself this conjunction is not that significant. Therefore, the second line indicates a lack of knowledge with the astronomic reality. However, it is every ten years that Saturn is running through a water sign, because of the fact that the water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) are in triangle with each other, which is the basis of the great Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions.
Van Berkel's remark, which is an addition to our study of the two quatrains "86", might mean a fatal and may-be decisive blow to the suppositions about the age of quatrain IV-86 and confirms that the 1557-DuRosne-editions or the 1568-B.Rigaud-editions which respectively would include quatrain IV-86 and the quatrains IV-86 and IX-86, can not be dated before the years immediately preceding 1593, if one supposes that quatrain IV-86 (and possibly quatrain IX-86) precede shortly before the coronation in Chartres, which sounds highly probable to us.
These quatrains, which correspond with each other and which emanate from opposite camps, are a remarkable illustration of the way the main parties used the Centuries , whose publishers preferred to edit the quatrains rather than to comment existing quatrains, as in the Ianus Gallicus. In the period 1588-1594, we see two exegetic directions: one which does not give an "external" comment but changes a centuric text or adds something to it; and another direction which - a way which eventually would become dominant - freezes the text and proposes to read it in one's own way, which puts an end to the practice of changing the text. It is important to establish that the antedated editions of the Centuries, among which the 1555-Macé Bonhomme-edition which contains notably quatrain IV-46 which deals with the reign in Tours of Henri de Navarre, cannot be dated before the period 1588-1593. This does not mean that there were no handwritten editions - that is a different debate - but they are not the editions we now discuss. Certainly, the quatrains might have been extracted from old historic sources, chronicles or travel guides, but it is important to understand that from an archaeological point of view - as it were - , the first layer was covered with a new one, which most notably resulted in the change of Chastres, mentioned in the Guide des Voyages by Estienne, into Chartres, the city of the dreamt and eventually happened coronation of Henri IV, whereas the coronation in Reims and Aix-la-Chapelle, announced in quatrain IV-68, did not take place but clearly was foreseen by the Lorraine supporters, against who a number of quatrains were directed by either the anagram Norlaris (VIII-60, IX-50) or by the name Lorraine (X-18). In the areas, controlled by the League, the centuries VIII-X were forbidden. This clearly shows that the House of Bourbon-Vendôme (Mendosus) took the claims of the Lorraines very seriously and that it had to be absolutely imperative to establish that Nostradamus clearly disapproved this camp.
True, as Adrien Delcour noted in the short article Le ranc lorrain fera place à Vendosme... quinze ans avant la Ligue, the rivalry between the Guises and the Vendômes dates from earlier years,
[5] it found its expression after the decease of Henry II and was described in a certain non-nostradamic publication, but to be precisely, but it was only in the time of the League that the Vendômes placed it under the banner of the Centuries; the editors of the fighting parties largely drew from an already existing whole, which would imply literally that it is not sufficient to date the quatrains on the basis of this whole, which means in a number of cases that quite a lot of quatrains should be dated in a period, preceding the years 1550, i.e.... in the sixteenth century.


October 20, 2008
J. Halbronn, D.Litt.


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

  1. Translator's note: Halbronn refers to his 1996-Sorbonne-lecture Les Prophéties et la Ligue. See: Halbronn: Les Centuries et le débat sur la loi salique, sous Henri III. [text]

  2. Translator's note: Halbronn refers to page 93 of the 1553-edition of  the Guide des Chemins de France (page 92 of the 1552-edition), in which in the paragraph  Etampes the toponym Chastres soubz Montlehery is listed. On this page, the toponyms Le bourg la Royne (quatrain IX-86: bourg lareyne) and Le pont Antony (quatrain IX-86: pont Anthoni) are also listed. According to Halbronn, Chastres soubz Montlehery is the old name of Arpajon in the department Essonne and in an antedated edition, dated on 1568, the toponym Chastres was changed into Chartres. [text]

  3. See Translator's note: Jean Guernon: French Century-scholar, webmaster of [text]

  4. Benazra, p.122-123. [text

  5. See [text]


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