Biographic sources
- T.W.M. van Berkel -

Nederlandse versie

Biographic research on Nostradamus is quite complex. For example, one must be able to distinguish the truth from the legend, one must have the energy to look ardently through old archives, one has to be familiar with the circumstances in France during 1400-1700 and the jewish culture, traditions and habits in that era. One also must be acquainted with old-French.
Research on the ancestors and children of Nostradamus is still going on. From time to time, new findings add to knowledge.
No biographic research on Nostradamus by means of examining archives is done in the research project Nostradamus, astrology and the Bible. The biographic information on this site is the result of the study of biographic literature on Nostradamus.

This page contains a survey of the most important sources about the life of Nostradamus.


Autobiographic material
This category contains material which, whether or not edited prior to publication - is written by Nostradamus or attributed to him. Two important sources:

  • Excellent et moult utile Opuscule... (Lyon, 1555). 
    Besides recepies for medicins and beauty devices, this publication contains notes by Nostradamus regarding his wandering in the period 1533-1544.

  • Lettres inédites (Dupèbe (ed.), Geneva, 1983).
    This book contains 54 Latin letters, written in the period February 1556 - December 1565. Twelve of them are written by Nostradamus, the remaining ones are adressed to him. Dupèbe, the compiler of this book which was published in 1983, wrote that Cesar, Nostradamus eldest son, kept these letters and in 1629 handed them over to a certain Peiresc. At that time, the letters were not published. The collection of letters got lost, but was found again in 1961 by the Frenchman E. Lhez.
    L'astrologie de Nostradamus - dossier (Amadou (ed.), Poissy, 1991) contains a French translation of these letters by Bernadette Lécureux.


Biographic material, written by family
This category contains:

  • Jehan de Nostredame: La Chronique de Provence (Carpentras manuscript, 2nd half 16th century). Jehan de Nostredame (1507-1577) was one of Nostradamus' brothers.

  • César de Nostredame: Histoire et chronique de Provence (Lyon, 1614). César (1553-1630) was the oldest son of Nostradamus and Anne Ponsarde, his second wife. In Histoire et chronique de Provence he included material, which was published previously by Jehan de Nostredame in La Chronique de Provence.

  • Palamède Tronc de Coudoulet: Abrégé de la vie de Michel Nostradamus (Aix, 1701) and Abrégé de l'histoire de Michel Nostradamus (manuscript, 1722). The manuscript seems to be an elaboration of the booklet which went into circulation.
    Tronc de Coudoulet (1660-1722) was a great-great nephew of Nostradamus. His mother, Jeanne Roux, was a daughter of Thomine Roux and Bertrand de Nostredame, one of Nostradamus' brothers. In 2001, Robert Benazra published both works by Tronc de Coudoulet in one booklet, entitled Abrégé de la vie et de l'histoire de Michel Nostradamus.


Biographic material, written by contemporaries of Nostradamus
The most important publication in this category is:

  • Brief discovrs svr la vie de M. Michel de Nostredame, iadis Conseillier & Medecin ordinaire des Rois tres Chrestiens Henry II, dv nom, Francois II. & Charles IX. This is a part of La premiere face dv Janus François (Lyon, 1594), written by Jean Aimes de Chavigny, about who some say that he was Nostradamus' secretary. 


Contemporary biographic research
This category contains the following publications:

  • Nostradamus - ses origines, sa vie, son oeuvre (dr. Edgar Leroy, Saint-Rémy de Provence, 1993 [1972]). 
    Leroy (1883-1965) was the first to do research on Nostradamus' ascendants. He started his research in the '40's. In the '70
    's, his compatriot E. Lhez Ph.D continued research and precised and corrected some of Leroys findings.
    The text of Nostradamus - ses origines, sa vie, son oeuvre dates from May 1948. It was in 1972, seven years after the decease of Leroy, that the manuscript was published for the first time (Trillaud printers, Bergerac). In 1993, Laffitte reprints, Saint-Rémy de Provence, published a re-edition to which a preface was added, written by Sylvain Gagnière, conservator; a biography on the occasion of Leroy's 100th birthday, written by Jean Delrieux, the husband of Marguerite-Marie Leroy, a daughter of Leroy; a survey of Leroy's publications, dedicated to Nostradamus; an explanation of the compilation of the 1993-re-edition, written by Jean and Marguerite-Marie Delrieux; six genealogic tables and a number of illustrations. In some cases, the text which was published in 1972 was updated, due to advanced research results.[1]

  • The section Ascendance on the website Espace Nostradamus, in which Robert Benazra extensively describes the ascendancy of Nostradamus.


De Meern, the Netherlands, January 19, 2005
T.W.M. van Berkel



  1. Robert Benazra explained the origins of Nostradamus - ses origines, sa vie, son oeuvre (Benazra to Van Berkel, January 17, 2005). [text]


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