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Noah Y. Kim
By Noah Y. Kim March 30, 2021

Nostradamus didn’t predict a 'feeble man' would rule the 'Western World'

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• There is no mention of this prophecy outside of recent posts on social media websites. 

• The verses cited contain anachronisms that weren’t in use at the time when Nostradamus was writing. ​

Some of President Joe Biden’s critics appear to be fans of Nostradamus, the 16th-century French prophet and astrologer, who is believed to have predicted various notable historical events. 

Facebook posts, including one shared more than 1,000 times, feature verses supposedly written by Nostradamus:

"A plague shall fall upon the world.
After, a feeble man shall rule the
Western World with a jezebel. The
people will be damaged and
subjugated by a fool ruler. The great
eagle shall suffer and fall."

But Nostradamus never wrote these verses. We could find no passages in his collective works containing the words "Western World," "jezebel," or "feeble man." 

These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Nostradamus is best known for "Les Prophéties," a collection of poetic quatrains that are united in sets of verses, or "centuries," that was first published in 1555. A keyword search of multiple versions of Nostradamus’s oeuvre turned up zero results for this prediction. 

It appears these verses began circulating on social media posts soon after Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris won the 2020 election. 

David Bell, a professor of history at Princeton, told us that the verses were fabricated and that they contain an anachronism: the phrase "Western World" was not in use while Nostradamus was alive. 

According to Lexico and the Oxford English Dictionary, poet and lawyer William Warner coined the phrase in 1586, two decades after Nostradamus died. 

These posts are fake.

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Nostradamus didn’t predict a 'feeble man' would rule the 'Western World'

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