People are at the heart of many of Nostradamus's prophecies, so knowing who's on stage is important. Nostradamus himself leads this cast of major players and influences:
Nostradamus: The star of our show, he was a French doctor, astrologer, and prophet from the early 1500s. He wrote predictions about the future of individual people, countries, and mankind in four-line rhymed poems (quatrains) that are collected in the Prophecies.
Queen Catherine de Medici: This Italian woman was married at a young age to King Henry II of France. Upon his untimely demise as the result of a jousting accident, she took the reins of the country when her sons were too young or weak to rule for themselves. She guided France from a position of power for the better part of three decades. Important to the story of Nostradamus, she was an early patron and supporter of his predictive skills.
César Scalinger: Nostradamus's mentor, he was a humanist and a man who loved to bring order to the world around him — organizing and cataloging ideas, plants, poetry, and people.
The Pope: All right, so it's not just one person, but as the head of the Catholic Church and God's representative on Earth, the Pope is important to Nostradamus. The Church, with its priests who could read, count, and handle eternal life had quite a bit of power — both religious and political — so the pope wasn't someone to take lightly.
Napoleon Bonaparte: This revolutionary and talented general ruled France, Nostradamus's native land from 1799 until 1814 and was one of his favorite topics in the quatrains. A conquering type, Napoleon was power hungry and was eventually defeated, exiled, and then defeated for the last time at Waterloo after he secretly returned from exile.
Adolph Hitler: By leading the Nazi party to power in Germany and continually invading and attacking neighboring countries, this man started World War II, which literally engulfed the globe. His ideas of a master race meant death for millions in concentration camps. In the cast of future characters, Nostradamus saw him as powerful and destructive.
Mother Nature: The earth is one thing that connects us all, and Nostradamus knew it well. Being surrounded by floods and changing weather that meant death or life was enough to encourage Nostradamus to place this earthy topic at the top of his quatrain list.