Nostradamus and the Wars against the Turks (1667-1700)
In one of his greatest triumphs as a soothsayer, and writing more than a hundred years prior to any of the events that would take place, the great sage Nostradamus predicted the defeat of the Ottoman Turks by European powers in a series of conflicts that were waged over the course of 33 years and held Europe’s fate in the balance. This prophecy, unique in its plain manner and uncharacteristic directness, is found in Century First, Quatrain 49, which reads:
Long before these happenings
the people of the East, influenced by the Moon,
in the year 1700 will cause many to be carried away,
and will almost subdue the Northern area (1:49).
That this prophecy should indeed be taken as evidence that Nostradamus correctly foresaw the ordering of future events in these wars is to be found in the simple analysis that reveals the content of this quatrain as uncannily tracking the actual unfolding of history. This interpretation shall reveal this truth.
Owing to the fact that the first line is merely a preamble to other quatrains, this prophecy is restricted to three lines (2-4) which each provide information as to what was predicted to transpire. Specifically, the second line provides the identity of a people, the third the date of their activity, and the fourth the result of their intentions. We will begin with the second line.
In the second line, Nostradamus gives us two clues as to who the people are: A geographical location in being in the East and a cultural clue in being “influenced by the Moon”. In regards to the former, the text identifies them as Eastern people, by which it is meant, of course, east of Europe, and so Asiatic. Turkey, being east of Europe â€“ in fact, it is the gateway to the East, and was formerly called Asia Minor â€“ is then immediately a candidate for the homeland of these people, amongst of course the whole rest of Asia.
The second clued of being influenced by the Moon leads us to look for an association with the lunar to one of these countries. This is found most easily in their outward representation in terms of flags, other insignia, or epithets, as an astrological link to Cancer or an occult sympathy with silver are unlikely candidates for a connection. Perfectly enough, the Ottoman Empire’s flag bore the mark of the Star and Crescent and is thus a prime candidate for this lunar association by virtue of displaying a moon. In fact, the Ottoman Empire’s flag is the source of what many erroneously believe to be the mark of Islam, this very same Star and Crescent.
Of course, the Ottoman’s positive association with a moon is not enough as there could be further connections throughout the Asiatic world with the lunar. Yet surprisingly there are no other such connections to be found with the lunar in all of Asia during this time period. In fact, it is solar symbolism which predominates over the rest of the Asiatic powers at the time with both the Persian and Mughal (Mongol India) flags being then composed of a lion and a Sun, the Qing dynasty of China’s flag bearing an image of a Chinese dragon with the Sun, and Japan of course holding the epithet of the Land of the Rising Sun. The Star and Crescent thus standing alone as a major association with an Asiatic people, we can speak of the Turks as “influenced by the moon” as a definitive association absent any other Eastern peoples.
Having satisfied both these conditions, The Turks must then be considered the people referenced in this second line of the prophecy. Accordingly, to figure out what line three means we must look to what happened to the Ottoman Turks in 1700 to see if anything would match the prophecy for this line. In consulting such history, we find that 1700, to the year, marks the end of a series of wars which saw the Ottoman Turks repulsed from their attempted conquest of Europe. These wars, beginning in 1667, saw the Ottoman Empire fatally imperil Europe’s identity as a Christian, independent conglomeration of states, when Sultan Mehmet IV attacked a weakened Poland (then part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth). The Turks secured large concessions from the Poles in this initial conflict, including control over Polodia.
Bolstered by their success against the Poles, Ottoman ambition prompted the Turks to attack the Habsburg Empire shortly thereafter. To face down this threat from the Ottomans, the Habsburgs joined forces with the rest of the Holy Roman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth under the unification of Pope Innocent XI. This alliance was called the Holy League, and it was this union that fought against the Turks.
Most famously during the conflict that followed, the Turks reached the very gates of Vienna in 1683â€”a feat they had not accomplished since Suleiman the Magnificent in 1529â€”and were repulsed after a two month siege was broken over the course of the two day Battle of Vienna (September 11th-12th). It is not hyperbole to suggest that if the Holy League had not prevailed that day, that the Ottoman Turks could have conquered most of central Europe.
Though the Battle of Vienna marked the high-water mark of Turkish intrusion into Europe, the wars were not over. Joined by the Venetian Republic in 1684 and the Russian Czardom in 1686, the Holy League jointly fought the Ottomans until 1897. Through such battles as the Second Battle of Mohacs (1687), the Battle of Slankamen (1691), the Azov Campaigns (1695-1696), and the Battle of Zenta (1697), the Holy League conquered Hungary, Transylvania, Podolia, Morea, and Dalmatia and forced the Sultan Mustafa II to sign the treaty of Karlowitz. Notably, Russia was not given any of these spoils.
With the rest of Holy League having abandoned Russia, Czar Peter I was compelled to continue fighting against the Turks until 1700. However, these later actions quickly concluded, and after a two year truce for negotiations, peace was made under the Treaty of Constantinople which saw Russia gain Azov permanently and was freed of paying tribute to the Crimean Khanate.
As can be seen by the date, this end to hostilities amongst fits perfectly with the third line’s insistence that 1700 will mark the end of the time when “many will be carried away”. By “many will be carried away” it is obvious that Nostradamus referenced these decades of war which saw essentially the whole of Central and Eastern Europe “carried away” to fight the Ottomans, and of course, the many men who were “carried away” by death on both sides.
In having related the history above, it becomes almost trivially easy to identify meaning of the fourth line. The Turks fail in their ambitions after nearly over running Europe and their war-effort ceases with the final signing of a treaty with Russia. We can see from these events, then, that when Nostradamus says they “will almost subdue the Northern area” that he means the Turks will almost succeed to conquer Europe (north), but will fail in so doing, and that the war should end in Russia drives home the idea of the north even more as the Russian Czardom even then reached all the way to the Arctic Ocean.
As noted in the beginning, this prophecy stands as one of Nostradamus’ triumphs. As shown, it takes essentially no fitting to make the prophecy match actual events in history. In line with the direct and plain manner of the prophecy’s words, the prophecy is simply suited to the history it predicted. This remarkable feat can be construed as nothing less than a validation of Nostradamus preeminent power as a soothsayer. Moreover, though the accuracy of the prediction ought to inspire some degree of skepticism, there is no indication that this is in any sense a forgery or a later addition to the quatrains. As such, we can safely acclaim Nostradamus’ extraordinary sagacity as revealed most powerfully in this prophecy.Â
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Read more about nostradamus, quatains, prophecies and 2012.
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