Thursday, 10 March 2011

Nostradamus on Mabus, Alus and ‘Adaluncatif’

By Peter Lemesurier 

Given that the Nostradamaniacs constantly try to kid you that Nostradamus’s references to ‘Mabus’, ‘Alus’ and ‘Adaluncatif’ are each to some kind of future Antichrist, please bear in mind that his Prophecies mention each figure only once, namely at  II.62, VI.33 and X.96 respectively. The tendency to assume that these must each be some of kind of ‘Antichrist’ arises simply from the names’ sheer unfamiliarity, which seems to alarm some people: it is almost as if ‘Anybody with a funny name in Nostradamus must be an Antichrist.’
            Here are the texts in question. They are followed by my own translations of them, taken (in the case of the verses) from my Nostradamus: The Illustrated Prophecies (O Books, 2003). For more literal, word-for-word translations, see my Nostradamus, Bibliomancer (Career Press, 2010 – see below). You can explore all the originals for yourself either in high resolution on the CD supplied with this latter book or in low resolution online at


II. 62. Original 1555 text
Mabus puis tost alors mourra, viendra
De gens & bestes une horrible defaite:
Puis tout à coup la vengence on verra
Cent, main, soif, faim, quand courra la comete.

                        Then, Mabus shortly dying, there shall be
                        Of man and beast a massacre most dread.
                        Then suddenly they’ll awful vengeance see:
                        Thirst, famine, blood, with comet overhead.

Source: Accounts of the events of 1532, when a notable daylight comet (not Halley’s) marked the death of the prominent Flemish painter Jan Gossaert de Mabuse in October and the bloody repulsing of the Ottoman invaders in Hungary by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. What was subsequently to become known as Halley’s comet had already been observed, and would duly be recorded by Lycosthenes, if possibly for the wrong year: This year in the middle of August a Comet was seen in Germany, Italy and France in the west for three weeks from around 6 August . . . before sunrise and at dusk after sunset. It passed through Cancer, Leo, Virgo and Libra, where it ceased to be visible, and did not appear any more thereafter. In the same year . . . the greater part of the forces of Soliman were captured or cut down . . . There are those who say that this Comet bodes ill and portends calamitous war for the Swiss . . . Apianus [chief astrologer of the Emperor Charles V] has recorded his observations of the motion of this Comet. There also exists an [astrological] assessment of this Comet by Theophrasus Paracelsus. Then, in a further passage subsequently translated by Batman: In the moneth of September a Comet was seene again in Virgo, and in ye house of Mercury for certayne weekes, two houres in the morning before the sunne rising, and in the East part which lasted 3. whole moneths, the flame was very terrible, for in greatnesse and continuance he surpassed the other Comet which we saw the yere past. The famous Doctor of Phisick Achilles Gassarus and John Virdungus Hastiodus a notable Astrologer hath described and interprete this Comet.  Charles’s victory over the Turks in Hungary in 1532 was followed only three years later by his triumphant attack on the Muslim pirate Barbarossa at Tunis and his freeing of thousands of Christian captives (see II.79, VI.70) – reflecting the Mirabilis liber’s prediction of a vast Muslim invasion of Europe (see I.9, I.75, II.24) followed eventually by a triumphant Christian counter-attack (see I.55). The famous cent, main  is of course merely the result of the compositor’s mishearing the dictating apprentice reading the words sang humain.
            Note that the only thing the verse says about Mabus is that he will die. No doubt US Secretary of the Navy Raymond E Mabus and all the other Mabuses in the world are fascinated.  Indeed, I actually know some of them to be…


VI. 33. Original September 1557 text
Sa main derniere par Alus sanguinaire,
Ne se pourra par la mer guarantir:
Entre deux fleuves caindre main militaire,
Le noir l’ireux le fera repentir.

                        Bloody from Halus, his remaining force
                        Fails to ensure his safety o’er the ocean.
                        ’Twixt rivers twain he’ll fear an armèd force.
                        The angry Black shall make him rue the notion.

Source: Tacitus’s account, in his Annals of Imperial Rome (VI.41-4), of the deposing of the Roman puppet Tiridates III by the Scythian Artabanus III in Mesopotamia, the ‘land between two rivers’, in AD 37, after he had occupied Halus and Artemita; And now that he [Artabanus] was rapidly approaching Seleucia with a large host [manu], Tiridates, unnerved by the fame and very presence of Artabanus, was in two minds as to whether to engage him or commit himself to a guerilla campaign . . . At length Tiridates spared [his allies] the dishonour of treacherous desertion by returning to Syria with a few followers – all of it presumably assimilated to the Mirabilis liber’s expected Arab invasion of Europe via the Middle East, with the ‘angry Black’ presumably Nostradamus’s idea of their leader.


X.96. Original text of 1568 edition
Religion du nom des mers vaincra,
Contre la secte fils Adaluncatif,
Secte obstinee deploree craindra,
Des deux blessez par Aleph & Aleph.

                        The sect with sea-like name shall victory gain
                        Against the heirs of Abdalah Caliph.
                        The stubborn sect deplored shall fear the twain,
                        Wounded alike by Aleph and Alif.

Source: Another ‘window-forecast’ confidently predicting the eventual victory of the Jews (whose alphabet starts with the letter aleph) over the Muslims (whose Arabic first letter is alif, and whose last Arab Caliph was the 7th-century Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr – whence Adaluncatif, a complete misreading of d’Abdalah calif). The ‘sect with the sea-like name’ are of course the Spanish Marranos, from whom Nostradamus’s family may well have been descended. The ‘stubborn, deplored sect’ appears to be the contemporary Protestants, unable to make much headway with either side. To make the rhyme with Adaluncatif, the last word should read alif, not aleph.

From the above it is clear that Nostradamus never in fact suggested that 'Mabus' was some kind of 'Third Antichrist' (a popular fiction based on a flagrant mistranslation by Erika Cheetham), any more than was 'Alus' or 'Adaluncatif -- other than in the minds of those who insist on twisting the verses to fit the facts, or even the facts to fit the verses. For would-be commentators from Cheetham, via John Hogue to Mario Reading to play speculative games with the Prophecies to make them say what they want them to say is all very well, but it adds nothing to the public understanding of Nostradamus and merely spreads unnecessary alarm and despondency. Indeed, it could be seen as frankly irresponsible.

Please refer to my: