NOSTRADAMUS, ASTROLOGY AND THE BIBLE
substudY "WORLD WAR iI"
Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées (5ème édition) 
(Dr. de Fontbrune, Sarlat, 1939)
- T.W.M. van Berkel -

Nederlandse versie
 

Les Prophéties (fifth edition, 1939)
Les Prophéties... 
fifth edition, 1939

The fortune of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées
In this article, the contents of the fifth edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées is discussed in relation with the rise and fall of fascism and national-socialism. 
Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées
  is written by the French physician and Century-scholar dr. Max Pigeard de Gurbert (1900-1959), who used the pseudonym dr. De Fontbrune.
On September 8, 1938, the first edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées was published by Michelet publishers in Sarlat.[1] In February 1938, the manuscript was handed over to the printer.[2] The conclusion at the end of the book is dated on February 22, 1938. 
In the twelfth edition of Les Propheties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées (Aix-en-Provence, 1975), Jean-Charles, De Fontbrune's son, wrote that in the first edition, his father foresaw the decease in February 1939 op Pope Pius XI, the French-German war and Germany's defeat. He also reported that several months after the publication of the first edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées, a book was published in France in which texts were copied from his father's book. Jean-Charles did not mention the title, nor the author's name. According to him, his father decided not to take legal procedures because of plagiarism.[3] 
A copy of the first edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées, printed on vellum, was sent to the Vatican. On October 21, 1938, the Vatican Apostolic Library acknowledged its receipt.[4]
De Fontbrune continuously revised parts of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées. In 1939, Michelet publishers published the second, third, fourth and fifth edition. Ten copies of the fifth edition were printed on pure, tinted Lafuma-fibre paper and marked with the capitals A - J. One hundred other copies were printed on pure, water-marked Rives-fibre paper and marked with the numbers 1-100. The fifth edition was produced in honour of Pius XII, who on March 2, 1939, was elected as Pope. On that occasion, the chapters were newly arranged. On June 13, 1940, the Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library acknowlegded the receipt of a copy of this edition. On August 22, 1939, De Fontbrune got a letter of thanks, dated on August 16, 1939, which was published inserted in the eighth edition of Les Propheties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées, published.[5] Earlier in 1940, the seventh edition was published. New in the eighth edition, which was brought into circulation around September 1940, was an index of geographical names.[6] The eighth edition also contained a list of quatrains, Sixains and nostradamic texts which were linked to events in connection with 1939 and events in France after the German invasion in May 1940. In an extra chapter, numbered XIV, De Fontbrune discussed events in France at the time of the German invasion and presented a scenario in which Russia became involved in the war. Ten copies of this edition were numbered I - X.
Between the end of March and the end of August 1940, brochures were brought into circulation in several languages in which, by using the Centuries and Century-comments, it was described that Nostradamus had predicted the inevitable, imminent fall of England. The French brochure, entitled Que se passera-t-il entre le printemps 1940 et le printemps 1941? was published in Geneva in April 1940. These brochures were translated from the German. The compilers of the German source text (Hans-Wolfgang Herwarth von Bittenfeld, prof. dr. Karl Bömer and Leopold Gutterer, all working at the German ministry of Propaganda) had announced the fall of England by copying texts from chapter  XXII of the fifth edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées. They listed the full title of this book, the place and year of issue, the name of the publisher, the fact that the quotes were copied from the fifth edition and the numbers of the pages where the original text could be found. In chapter XXII, De Fontbrune, basing himself upon a.o. a combination of his estimated time spans of the quatrains 03-57 (1657-1947) and 10-100 (1603 - beyond 1903), supposed that England in short time would lose her empire and fleet and that London would fall. According to De Fontbrune, it was described in quatrain 03-57 that England, in a series of seven conflicts, alternately would choose the side of France or the side of France's enemies. In World War I, the sixth conflict in the series of seven, England and France were allies. De Fontbrune expected that in "the coming conflict" England would choose the side of France's enemies. Very unfortunatey, since as a result, England would lose her empire and fleet. In his comment upon quatrain 03-57, De Fontbrune did not mention the year in which this conflict would break out. Herwarth von Bittenfeld c.s. linked these expectations to the war which had begun in 1939 and presented these expectations in coherence with texts, copied from German Century-comments in which it was maintained that the time span of quatrain 03-57 ran from 1649 to 1939 and from which the comment in 1921 by the German Century-scholar Carl Loog was linked to the British declaration of war to Germany because of the German invasion in Poland in September 1939.[7] I do not know if De Fontbrune ever has known that parts of his book were used for national-socialist propaganda. In the biography about his father, Jean-Charles did not mention anything about it.
In November 1940, the managers of Coueslant printers/publishers in Cahors were informed by a letter of Ch. Nismes, censor, dated on November 13, 1940, of the banning of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées. The letter raises the impression that it was a matter of precaution, it was feared that De Fontbrune's comments would provoke fierce reactions of the occupying authorities. Copies which were possed by libraries, had to be removed from the collection; the matter was destroyed. The letter of the censor contains a reference to the sixth, seventh and eighth edition, not to the ninth edition.[8]
In his preface to the tenth edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées, dated on May 8, 1946, De Fontbrune discussed the complications in 1940, his motives to revise the text and the fact that on June 18, 1940, he concluded that the "second Thrasybulus", mentioned in the Epistle to the French king Henry II, was an allusion to Charles de Gaulle. Because of this, he was convinced that France would be liberated. 
The tenth edition was printed by Coueslant in Cahors and published by Michelet in Sarlat. In 1958, one year before his decease, the eleventh edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées was published by Coueslant. 
In 1975, Jean-Charles published the twelfth edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées in which he passed over parts of the text of the eleventh edition and to which he added a biography of his father as an introduction. One year later, that edition became published once again, this time in Paris and entitled Ce que Nostradamus a vraiment dit, with a preface by Henry Miller, an author who was very interested in Nostradamus and astrology and who was a close friend of the astrologer Sydney Omarr. In 1981, a German translation of this edition was published in Vienna, entitled Was Nostradamus wirklich sagte - die authentischen Exegese des französischen Forschers. From 1983, this translation was published in Germany.

Text division and illustrations
The fifth edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées contains 302 pages and seven illustrations. The text is divided as follows:[9]

Page

Chapter title / illustration
7 Avertissement
9 Chapitre premier: Des prophéties bibliques à celles de Nostradamus
14 Chapitre II: Historique
17 Chapitre III: Exposé et résultats d'une méthode
-
Between the pages 32 and 33: a photocopy of the first page of Century 01, without mentioning its source (probably the 1668-Amsterdam-edition)
42 Chapitre IV: Le frontispice de l'édition d'Amsterdam
- Between the pages 44 and 45: a photocopy of the cover of the 1668-Amsterdam-edition
45 A l'invictissime, très puissant et très chrestien Henry, Roy de France Second
56 Chapitre V: La Lettre à Henry Second
73 Chapitre VI: Les Centuries [La conjuration d'Amboise et les guerres de réligion... etc.]
80 Chapitre VII. [Louis XIV et Marie-Antoinette... etc.]
86 Chapitre VIII. [L'Origine Corse de Bonaparte... etc.]
96 Chapitre IX. [Les monarchies constitutionelles et l'instabilité du pouvoir... etc.]
- Page 111: picture, taken from the edition of February 26, 1937 of "Jour", showing the inflation in France in the period 1914-1937
113 Chapitre X. Coup d'oeil sur l'époque 1937-97
120 Chapitre XI: Entre le passé et l'avenir [Coup d'oeil d'ensemble sur la période 1937-99... etc.]
156 Chapitre XII. [Les discours de Genéve... etc.]
- Page 158: picture of a Swiss stamp, issued at the occasion of the disarmament conference in 1932 in Geneva
162 Chapitre XIII. [La République et le mouvement militaire de Séville... etc.]
- Page 165: picture of a part of a page of the edition of August 15, 1937 of "Jour" with the headline Des socialistes français dans les géoles de Barcelone
168 Chapitre XIV. [Hitler et le régime "spartiate"... etc.]
177 Chapitre XV. [La ligne Maginot - L'invasion par la Suisse et la destruction de Genève... etc.]
-
Page 178: map of the Maginot-line
- Pagina 181: map of the French-Swiss-German frontiers, showing the German invasion in France by Basel and Geneva
190 Chapitre XVI. [La descendance par les mâles... etc.]
218 Chapitre XVII. [L'invasion à travers les Appenins... etc.]
230 Chapitre XVIII. [Salon-de-Provence et l'irruption des soldats de Mahomet... etc.]
236 Chapitre XIX. [Le passage des Alpes, Monaco et la guerre sur mer... etc.]
244 Chapitre XX. [Les nouvelles persécutions des Chrétiens en terre musulmane... etc.]
250 Chapitre XXI. [Le calme annonciateur de la dernière tribulation... etc.]
256 Chapitre XXII. [Les trois cents ans de maîtrise des mers de l'Empire Britannique... etc.]
265 Chapitre XXIII. [La naissance de l'Antéchrist... etc.]
280 Chapitre XXIV. Les dates, Présages et Sixains - essai chronologique
294 Chapitre XXV. Conclusion (February 22, 1938)
299 Table des matières
 

Source material and research methods 
The source text which De Fontbrune used for his research, has been an edition of the Centuries, its print dated on 1605[10] He considered all texts in this edition (the Preface to Cesar, the Epistle to Henry II, the centuries (twelve, with 954 quatrains), the 141 Présages and the 58 Sixains) as genuine and tried to grasp their meaning.[11] In later editions of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées he also included material, originating from the Prophecy of Orval, which he attributed to Nostradamus, and the Prémol Predictions, which according to him were founded upon the oeuvre of Nostradamus. 
During his research, De Fontbrune found clues that brought him to the conclusion that Nostradamus made his texts incomprehensible by using a philological system, a series of symbols and a number of anagrams.
According to De Fontbrune, Nostradamus originally wrote his texts (with the exception of the Preface to Cesar) in Latin, next, he turned the root words into French. De Fontbrune called this method Nostradamus' philological system. In order to understand the meaning of the text, one should find out the etymological meaning in Latin of each word. Earlier, his compatriots J. le Roux in La clef de Nostradamus (Paris, 1710), A. le Pelletier in Les oracles de Michel de Nostredame (Paris, 1867) and P.V. Piobb (author's pseudonym of count Pierre Vincenti da Piobetta) in in Le secret de Nostradamus et de ses célèbres prophéties du XVIe siècle (Paris, 1927) elaborated the idea that the quatrains originally were written in Latin and next translated into a primitive kind of French.
De Fontbrune also thought that Nostradamus borrowed the symbols in his texts from first the Bible and second Greek-Roman mythology. Some symbols were created by Nostradamus himself. Names of planets and zodiacal signs had a symbolic meaning, not an astrological meaning.
According to De Fontbrune, one could recognize anagrams in the text, since the first letter of an anagram was a capital letter.
De Fontbrune used three ways to determine when predictions in the nostradamic oeuvre would be fulfilled. In his eyes, Nostradamus clearly wrote in the Epistle to Henry II that in the case of fulfilment data, he had not used a secret system or a system which had to be decoded by means of arithmetics. Basing himself upon certain events, De Fontbrune determined the beginning and the end of periods, mentioned in the Centuries. In his eyes, the months which were mentioned above each Présage indicated the months of the events, predicted in the Centuries. The numbers in the Sixains corresponded with the years in which the events took or would take place.

 

De Fontbrune's remarks about fascism, national-socialism and the wars which he thought would break out
In the first nine chapters of the fifth edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées, De Fontbrune discussed events which occurred in the period 1555-1937. In the remaining part, he discussed the future until 1999. For De Fontbrune, it was clear that Nostradamus foresaw the rise of Hitler and Mussolini, indicating them with "the two Cretenzians".[12] It was in 1934 that De Fontbrune linked the rise of fascism and national-socialism to a paragraph in the Epistle to Henry II, which read that by military actions several groups would be founded in Romania, Germania and Spain.[13] Moreover, Nostradamus had made an allusion to Hitler by calling him "the Great Wittemberg". Nostradamus had called France "the immortal people" and it was part of the fate of France that it would be saved from destruction.[14]
According to De Fontbrune, the decease of pope Pius XI would mark the begin of the troubles in Europe. Basing himself upon quatrain 05-92, he expected that Pius XI would die between February 1939 and February 1940.
[15] Around Easter 1940, German troops would invade Italy and would cause death and destruction. At Perugia, the Italians would be defeated smashingly. Next, Germany would occupy Rome and put the regime of Mussolini under heavy pressure.[16] One year later, German troops would invade France by crossing the Swiss border. In this action, Geneva would be destroyed. Paris would be burned down. The French-German war would last for about seven months. Eventually, things would turn out bad for the Germans, who would be defeated smashingly in the Jura mountains and who would be forced to sign a peace treaty in Ulm.
For De Fontbrune, it was one hundred percent certain that France would win the war which was about to come. The French Third Republic would come to an end, and on a certain moment, France would be ruled by a king, Henryc.[17] 

In connection with England, De Fontbrune wrote that this country would see that a period of more than 300 years supremacy in the world, as predicted by Nostradamus, would come to an end. De Fontbrune noticed that England in six successive wars alternately was France's ally or enemy. In World War I, the sixth war in the series, England was France's ally. De Fontbrune expected that in the coming war, England would choose the side of France's enemies. This would turn out to be unfortunate: England would lose her empire and fleet.[18] 
In the first edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées, De Fontbrune, according to his son Jean-Charles, foresaw the decease in February 1939 of pope Pius XI, the outbreak of the French-German war and the eventual defeat of Germany. In his discussion of the fifth edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées, the French Century-scholar and bibliographer Robert Benazra wrote that De Fontbrune predicted the imminent fall of the Third Republic, its succession by "the government of the Old one" and the rise of general De Gaulle, who according to De Fontbrune was mentioned in the Epistle to Henry II with the words "second Thrasybulus".[19]
In the summer of 1940, when the battle in France was in full swing, De Fontbrune got many letters of people who read his book.[20] Perhaps they thought that he was some kind of oracle and that he had given a striking description of the events in their lifetime. 
Anno 2008, the author of this article has a different opinion about the meaning and value of the future perspectives, presented by De Fontbrune in the fifth edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées. In order to evaluate these future perspectives, it has been verified to what extent the comments corresponded with the nature of the events, the countries and/or cities which were involved and the dates upon which they occurred.
The remark of Jean-Charles de Fontbrune that his father in the first edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées foresaw the decease in February 1939 of Pius XI, does not match with the comment upon quatrain 05-92 in the fifth edition. In that comment, De Fontbrune had written that according to Nostradamus, the life of Pius XI would come to an end between February 1939 and February 1940, not in February 1939. A striking detail is that in May 1939, when the manuscript of the fifth edition, produced in honour of Pius XII, was handed over to the printer, Pius XI was already dead for three months. The comment upon quatrain 05-92 contains nothing about the decease of Pius XI, as it contains nothing about his successor, Pius XII. It looks to me that this comment is similar with the comment in earlier editions. In my eyes, this comment is far less striking than Jean-Charles is suggesting.
According to De Fontbrune, the decease of Pius XI would mark the beginning of the troubles in Europe. He made this remark in the context of his expectation that by Easter 1940, Germany would invade Italy, and one year later France. Actually, after Easter 1940, Germany did not invade Italy (in fact, Italy joined Germany in June 1940 and invaded the south-east of France) but Denmark and Norway and one month later, on May 10, 1940, Belgium, France, Luxembourg and The Netherlands. In September 1939, German troops had invaded Poland. As a reaction, England and France declared war to Germany. It is generally assumed that this marked the beginning of World War II. The decease in February 1939 of Pius XI was not a marking point.
According to Jean-Charles de Fontbrune, his father foresaw in the first edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées the outbreak of the French-German war. This qualification is not correct. German troops invaded France on May 10, 1940, whereas his father expected a German invasion in 1941. It is not correct to characterize the German invasion in France in May 1940 as an outbreak of a French-German war, a bilateral conflict. On May 10, 1940, German troops also invaded Belgium, Luxembourg and The Netherlands. In April 1940, they occupied Denmark and Norway; in September 1939, they occupied Poland.
German troops did not invade France by crossing the Swiss border, as De Fontbrune wrote, but by crossing the North-East French border and the Maginot-line, something which De Fontbrune had not taken into account.
Because of these differences between De Fontbrune's expectations in Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées and the course of history in 1939 and the first half of 1940, I wonder why readers of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées turned to De Fontbrune in the summer of 1940 and what exactly they wrote and asked. Did they thought or hoped that De Fontbrune in one way or another would know what would happen in the near future? His book does not justify such a hope. 
The course of history further showed that, counting from the German invasion in France in May 1940, it would last five years before Germany would capitulate and France would be free, not seven months, as De Fontbrune supposed. There has been no smashing battle in the Jura, neither was a peace treaty signed in Ulm. Paris and Geneva were not burned.
For De Fontbrune, there was no doubt that France would win the war. Here, we have to keep in mind that he wrote about a bilateral conflict, a French-German war, not about a war which made all Europe suffer. Indeed, France belonged to those countries who defeated Germany, but in a different way than the way, described by De Fontbrune. In the fifth edition, De Fontbrune wrote about the coming end of the Third Republic but in contrast with Benazra's suppositions, he made no allusion to the Vichy-government ("the government of the Old one) or to general De Gaulle, but to a French king (Henryc), which never existed. According to Jean-Charles de Fontbrune, his father, after having heard the speech of De Gaulle in England on June 18, 1940, in which he called upon the Resistance, concluded that De Gaulle was the "second Thrasybulus", mentioned by Nostradamus in his Epistle to Henry II.[21] De Fontbrune wrote that the eighth edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées dates from June 1940.[22] It seems to be very unlikely that this edition contained allusions to the Vichy-government and De Gaulle. Perhaps Benazra's remarks deal with the tenth edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées, published in 1946. According to Jean-Charles de Fontbrune, it was in the tenth edition that his father announced the return of De Gaulle.[23]
About De Fontbrune's expectations about the position and the fate of England during the imminent conflict, it can be noted that in September 1939,England and France side-by-side declared war to Germany. In contrast with De Fontbrune's writings, England did not oppose France.

 

Obscurities in the Centuries, Présages and Sixains
In this article, it has been demonstrated that it can not be attributed to De Fontbrune that by means of the Centuries, the Présages and the Sixains he correctly described the circumstances in Europe in the editions of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées, published in 1938, 1939 en 1940. In fact, the events which he thought would happen, basing himself upon his philological system, symbols and anagrams, did not happen or did not happen in the way he described them.
The obscure words, the fact that fulfilment data lack in almost every prediction in the Centuries and the lack of a list of used symbols and their meaning cause many troubles in the process of interpreting the predictions in the nostradamic oeuvre. It is absolutely unclear what the compiler(s) of the predictions had in mind when they phrased these predictions, especially when a fulfilment moment is at stake. If the use of a certain system results in the discovery of a correspondence between an event and the interpretation of a prediction, this says nothing about the intentions of the compiler of this prediction or the aptness of the interpretation method. Not one word in quatrain 05-92 indicates the period 1922-1939. We must add that De Fontbrune, in his comment upon this quatrain, also wrote that there would be changes in five countries. The nature of these changes is obscure, also in De Fontbrune's comment.
In November 1940, Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées was banned. The censor in Cahors wanted to prevent that German authorities would strike back because of De Fontbrune's comments, who had written that Germany, according to Nostradamus, would lose the war. The censor's measures do not mean that this was a striking prediction. In fact, these measures tell us something about the possible impact of De Fontbrune's comments upon German authorities. In November-December 1939, the announcement of Germany's defeat did not stop Herwarth von Bittenfeld c.s. to include parts of chapter XXII of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées in which De Fontbrune announced that England would lose her empire and fleet, and to present this in the light of the German victory, announced by them.

 

De Meern, the Netherlands, August 6, 2008
T.W.M. van Berkel
updated on August 30, 2008

 

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

  1. In his preface to the eighth edition, dated on August 15, 1940, De Fontbrune mentioned September 7, 1938, as the date of issue of the first edition. On p.482 of Benazra's Répertoire Chronologique Nostradamique, it is mentioned erroneously that the place of issue was Aix-en-Provence.
    A short biography of Dr. de Fontbrune: Van Berkel: Information on dr. Max Pigeard de Gurbert alias dr. De Fontbrune. [text]
  2. De Fontbrune-1975, p.5. [text]

  3. De Fontbrune-1975, p.V and IX. On p.V, the name Pius IX is printed instead of Pius XI. [text]
  4. De Fontbrune-1975, p.5. [text]
  5. De Fontbrune-1975, p.5. A picture of the letter from the Vatican Secretary of August 16, 1939, is inserted between the pages 6 and 7. [text]
  6. Benazra, p.492. [text]
  7. Van Berkel: Was bringt das Jahr 1940?. [text]
  8. De Fontbrune-1975, p.5-6. In Benazra's Répertoire Chronologique Nostradamique, the ninth edition is not listed. Given the fact that this edition is not included in online-catalogues of a number of libraries and antiquarians, the author of this article wonders if this edition ever was brought into circulation. [text]
  9. In the Table des matières, the page numbers, given for the the chapters II - VIII differ from the actual page numbers. [text]
  10. De Fontbrune-1939, p.7. Probably, De Fontbrune used an edition, entitled Les Prophéties de M. Michel Nostradamus - Reueuës & corrigées sur la coppie Imprimée à Lyon par Benoist Rigaud. 1568 - M.DCV (cf. Benazra, p.156). [text]
  11. De Fontbrune-1939, p.17. [text]
  12. De Fontbrune-1939, p.115. [text]
  13. De Fontbrune-1975, p.III-IV. [text]
  14. De Fontbrune-1939, p.115. [text]
  15. De Fontbrune-1939, p.284. [text]
  16. De Fontbrune-1939, 171-173 en p.286. In 1940, Easter was celebrated on March 24. [text
  17. De Fontbrune-1939, p.177-182, p.241 and p.287-288. [text]
  18. De Fontbrune-1939, p.256-258. [text]
  19. De Fontbrune-1975, p.V; Benazra, p.486-487. [text]
  20. De Fontbrune-1975, p.VI. [text]
  21. De Fontbrune-1975, p.VI-VII and p.5. [text]
  22. De Fontbrune-1975, p.5. [text]
  23. De Fontbrune-1975, p.VII. [text]
 
 

 
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