MAGICIAN, SEER OR CHARLATAN?
Nostradamus was born in the Provencal city of St Remy on 14 December 1503 to a family of Jewish origin, albeit Catholic converts. According to one tradition his father’s ancestors were eminent physicians, renowned for their learning, although there is hard evidence that many of the seer’s direct forebears were Jewish traders in the papal enclave of Avignon. This fact does not entirely disprove the tradition, however, for there were plenty of quite humble Jewish trading families in 16th-century Europe who were collaterally or directly descended from learned rabbis, physicians and philosophers and the family of the prophet may have been one of these. What is certain is that whatever his ancestry may have been, Nostradamus was an intelligent child who by the time he had reached puberty had mastered the rudiments of Greek, Latin and mathematics and had been sent away to study in Avignon. In 1522, when he was 18 years old, Nostradamus left Avignon and was sent to Montpellier to study medici