Letter to King Henry II

The famous open "Letter to King Henry II of France" by Nostradamus is his dedicatory preface to the now-missing 1558 edition of his Propheties, as reprinted in the posthumous 1568 edition by Benoist Rigaud. After a formal introduction, it makes various claims about the sources of his inspiration and lists many cryptic prophecies (nearly all undated) that seemingly have little to do with those in the work itself.

These include:

  • decadence and calamity threatening both Church and laity
  • the advent of French rulers who will cause Europe to tremble
  • the amalgamating of kingdoms and propagation of new laws
  • the confrontation of England and a bloody invasion of Italy
  • new alliances between Rome, Eastern Europe and Spain
  • the liberation of Sicily from the Germans
  • the persecution of the Arabs by the Latin nations
  • the advent of the Antichrist like Xerxes and his hosts
  • attacks by the Muslims on the Pope and his Church
  • an eclipse of unprecedented darkness
  • a great October upheaval lasting 73 years and seven months
  • renewal of the Church by one from the 50th degree of latitude
  • an attempt by peoples to free themselves which will result in even greater imprisonment
  • the advent of the Great Dog and an even Greater Mastiff
  • the rebuilding of the churches and restoration of the priesthood
  • a new disaster, with crooked leaders and generals who will be disarmed by a sceptical populace
  • a new military and regal saviour ruling from another 'little Mesopotamia'
  • the putting down of a former tyranny by a conspiracy
  • a powerful resurgence of Islam, with Western Christendom in decay and decline
  • an unprecedented persecution of the Church, with two thirds of the population wiped out by pestilence
  • desolation of the country and clergy, while the invading Arab military take over Malta, Mediterranean France and the offshore islands
  • a Western counterinvasion that will rescue Spain from the invaders and pursue the Arabs back to the Middle East
  • the depopulation of Israel, with the Holy Sepulchre turned into farm buildings
  • terrible retribution inflicted on the Orientals by the Northerners, whose tongues will have acquired an Arabic admixture
  • defeat of the Eastern leaders and seven-year triumph of the Northern Christians
  • the persecution of Christians until 1792, when a totally new era will begin
  • an extremely powerful Venice
  • vast naval battles in the Adriatic, destruction of many cities and persecution of the Church and Pope
  • a brief reign for the Antichrist, with a huge liberating army led into Italy by a 'Gallic Hercules'
  • vast floods wiping out the very knowledge of letters
  • universal peace toward the beginning of the seventh millennium after the Creation, and restoration of the Holy Sepulchre
  • some great conflagration
  • restoration of the papacy
  • sacking of the Holy of Holies by pagans and destruction of the scriptures
  • the reign of the Prince of Hell for 25 years after the Antichrist
  • premonitory birds
  • a new Golden Age of Saturn, the binding of Satan for a thousand years, and universal peace and harmony, with the Church finally triumphant

The letter also includes two different dates for the creation of the world.


  • Leoni, E., Nostradamus and His Prophecies (Wings, 1961–82)
  • Lemesurier, P., The Nostradamus Encyclopedia (Godsfield/St Martin’s, 1997)
  • Lemesurier, P., Nostradamus – The Illustrated Prophecies (O Books, 2003)
  • Wilson, I., Nostradamus: The Evidence (Orion, 2002)/ Nostradamus: The Man Behind the Prophecies (St Martin's 2007)

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