Nostradamus, the Latin name of Michel de Notredame (1503-1566), a French astrologer and physician. His predictions of events were widely believed during his lifetime and continued to arouse much interest many years after his death. Because the prophecies were symbolic and vague, they can apply to many situations, causing some people even today to interpret them as predicting events that actually occurred.

Nostradamus was born at Saint-Remy in southern France. He became a doctor of medicine in 1529. During outbreaks of plague in Aix and Lyon in 1545, he served with skill and devotion. In 1547 Nostradamus began to make his predictions. He wrote a book of rhymed prophecies entitled Centuries (1555), which gained him favor with the French court. Because of the seeming fulfillment of some of his predictions, Catherine de' Medici accepted him as semiofficial astrologer. He was appointed physician to Charles IX, her son.