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Who was Nostradamus and when did he live?

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A. Michel de Nostredame (1503-66), later known as Nostradamus, was one of the leading lights of the late French Renaissance. A Jewish-French contemporary of Paracelsus and England's Dr John Dee, he may (from 1530) have been at medical college with Rabelais. He was certainly much admired by the poet Ronsard. As a physician he came to specialise in the Plague, on which he was recognised as one of the foremost experts: in his 'Trait des fardemens', though, (see below) he frankly admits that none of his cures actually had much effect on the disease - not even the blood-letting that some commentators insist that he never used. He was also famed somewhat as an 'astrologer', but preferred to call himself an 'astrophile', or 'star-lover'. On his semi-retirement in around 1550 he turned to writing. Apart from a highly popular cookbook (actually, a 'Treatise on Cosmetics and Conserves') and a number of academic works, his main fields were astrology and prophecy.
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A. Michel de Nostredame (1503-66), later known as Nostradamus, was one of the leading lights of the late French Renaissance. A Jewish-French contemporary of Paracelsus and England's Dr John Dee, he is often supposed to have been (from 1530) at medical college with Rabelais: however, he is known to have been expelled again from the student body at Montpellier for having, as an apothecary, been rude about doctors, so this is at best uncertain. He was certainly much admired by the poet Ronsard. As a physician (qualified or not) he came to specialise in the Plague, on which he was recognised to be one of the foremost experts: in his Traité des fardemens, though, (see below) he frankly admits that none of his cures actually had much effect on the disease - not even the blood-letting that some commentators insist that he never used. He was also famed somewhat as an 'astrologer', even though his competence clearly left much to be desired, but he preferred to call himself an 'astrophile', or ... more
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