Nostradamus Prophecy

Nostradamus was born Michel de Nostredame in St. Remy, France on December 14, 1503. As a youth, he spent a great deal of time with his grandfather learning languages, mathematics, astronomy and astrology. He majored in liberal arts at the University of Avignon, and graduated from the medical school at the University of Montpellier. He practiced medicine and was known for successfully treating plague victims in the areas surrounding Montpellier. In 1534, Nostradamus married his first wife and had two children. Shortly thereafter, he lost his entire family to the plague, and traveled Europe for the next six years. In 1554, Nostradamus settled in Salon, France, where he married his second wife and had six children.

In 1555, at the age of 52, Nostradamus wrote his first set of prophecies, a collection of 100 "quatrains" known as a "century." (A quatrain is simply a poem with four lines.) In 1564, Nostradamus was appointed as Royal Physician to King Charles IX. During the next several years, until his death in 1566, Nostradamus wrote ten centuries of prophecies.

Nostradamus prophecy was written primarily in French, although he threw in some Latin, Greek and Italian to murk some meanings. He also used other devices to obscure his quatrains, including symbols, metaphors and purposely-misspelled words. Most interestingly, many of the so-called Nostradamus prophecies circulating today are merely urban legends -- often his original quatrains are cut and splice to sound good after major world events. For instance, shortly after the September 11th terrorist attacks in the U.S., a large number of alleged Nostradamus prophecies began circulating the Internet and news media. Here are a few of them:

    "In the year of the new century and nine months, From the sky will come a great King of Terror... The sky will burn at forty-five degrees. Fire approaches the great new city..."

    In the city of York there will be a great collapse, two twin brothers torn apart by chaos while the fortress falls the great leader will succumb third big war will begin when the big city is burning"
    "It has been foreseen that exactly three hundred and fifty years into the future, Silver phoenixes shall strike down the twin brothers of oppression That carried the king's nation, which shall bring upon the apocalypse. In the City of God there will be a great thunder, two brothers torn apart by chaos"
So, did Nostradamus predict the attacks against the Twin Towers in New York? No, Nostradamus didn't write these quatrains - they were tweaked and twisted to somewhat match the event. For example, the first one says "In the year of the new century and nine months," but Nostradamus' original quatrain reads, "In the year 1999 and seven months, from the skies shall come an alarming powerful king" (Century 10:72). Neither is there a mention of "twin brothers" being "torn apart." The quatrain actually says, "Two royal brothers shall war so much one against the other" (Century 3:97). Finally, as for collapsing in the city of York and the sky burning, this is as close as he gets: "The heaven shall burn at five and forty degrees, the fire shall come near the great new city... when they shall make a trial of the Normans" (Century 6:97). Nostradamus never even mentioned the words "fortress" or "big war."

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Mona Lisa (also known as Lisa de Giocondo) is a 16th century portrait painted in oil on a poplar panel by Leonardo Da Vinci during the Italian Renaissance. The work is owned by the French government and hangs in the Musée du Louvre in Paris, France with the title Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. The painting is a half-length portrait and depicts a woman whose expression is often described as enigmatic. The ambiguity of the sitter's expression, the monumentality of the half-figure composition, and the subtle modeling of forms and atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to the painting's continuing fascination. Few other works of art have been subject to as much scrutiny, study, mythologizing and parody.

Leonardo da Vinci began painting the Mona Lisa in 1503 (during the Italian Renaissance) and, according to Vasari, "after he had lingered over it four years, left it unfinished...." He is thought to have continued to work on it for three years after he move
d to France and to have finished it shortly before he died in 1519. Leonardo took the painting from Italy to France in 1516 when King François I invited the painter to work at the Clos Lucé near the king's castle in Amboise. Most likely through the heirs of Leonardo's assistant Salai, the king bought the painting for 4,000 écus and kept it at Fontainebleau, where it remained until given to Louis XIV. Louis XIV moved the painting to the Palace of Versailles.

After the French Revolution, it was moved to the Louvre. Napoleon had it moved
to his bedroom in the Tuileries Palace; later it was returned to the Louvre. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871) it was moved from the Louvre to a hiding place elsewhere in France. Mona Lisa was not well known until the mid-19th century when artists of the emerging Symbolist movement began to appreciate it, and associated it with their ideas about feminine mystique. Critic Walter Pater, in his 1867 essay on Leonardo, expressed this view by describing the figure in the painting as a kind of mythic embodiment of eternal femininity, who is "older than the rocks among which she sits" and who "has been dead many times and learned the secrets of the grave."

Although the sitter has traditionally been identified as Lisa de Giocondo, a lack of definitive evidence had long fueled alternative theories, including the possibility that Leonardo used his own likeness. However, on January 14, 2008, German academics of Heidelberg University made public a finding that corroborates the traditional identification: dated notes scribbled into the margins of a book by its owner on October 1503 established Lisa de Giocondo as the model for the painting. Other aspects of the painting that have been subject to speculation are the original size of the painting, whether there were other versions of it, and various explanations for how the effect of an enigmatic smile was achieved.

In a National Geographic presentation titled "Testing The Mona Lisa" it was deduced, after rigorous assessment, that the figure depicted in the painting might be maternal, or pregnant. It was found, after extensive infrared reflectography, that Lisa herself had a haze around her clothing indictative of a guarnello, the attire worn by pregnant women. Another theory proposed by various health professionals was that Leonardo's representation of her hands as slightly 'large' was further indicative of Lisa's pregnancy. Conversely, as many scholars or persons suggest, this representation is merely a stylistic concept of beauty exemplified by numerous Renaissance painters, including Leonardo himself.
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