On 16 August 1769, in Breslau Castle, in Silesia, Frederic the Great awoke in his blue silk draped bedroom at six o’clock in the morning. He rose immediately, dressed hurriedly, and had his astrologist called.
Upon the astrologist’s arrival, the King of Prussia told him to sit down and listen. He had had a strange dream, and wanted to know its meaning.
He said that he had seen his kingdom’s star shining in the sky. He was admiring its brightness, and its height, when suddenly, above it, another star had appeared which eclipsed his own, as it lowered itself onto it. There was a struggle. For a short time, the two stars’ rays were shining together, then Frederic’s star darkened and, wrapped in the orbit of the other one, slowly descended to Earth, as if forced by a power which seemed to want to put it out and annihilate it. He demanded to know what it meant.
The astrologist seemed very uncomfortable. He told the King that he thought that it meant that a great man of war had been born, or that Prussia would be dominated by an invisible power.
The Prussian King was furious. He continued the description of his dream. He said that the struggle between the two stars had been long and forceful, but that his own star had escaped – with great difficulty – and taken its place again, continuing to shine in the sky, while the other one had disappeared. He wanted to know if his astrologer still thought that Prussia would be dominated.
The astrologer answered that it would be, for a certain time. Perhaps by the man of war who had just appeared on Earth.
A few hours earlier, 300 leagues from Breslau, a baby had been born in Ajaccio. A baby who would be called Napoleon Bonaparte.
However, before inspiring a symbolically premonitory dream to Frederic of Prussia, Napoleon had already haunted the minds of some great prophets.
In 1542, a doctor and astrologist, Philippe-Noel Olivarius, whose mind was open to the sights and sounds of the future, had published a book of prophecies in which his contemporaries read a chapter which seemed to them to be a pile of rubbish. Rubbish which, two hundred and twenty-seven years later, began to happen with stupefying exactitude. Here is my translation of the French translation of Olivarius’ text:
“The Italian Gaul will see the birth, not far from its heart, of a supernatural being; this man will arrive very young from the sea and will come to take the language and customs of the Celtic Gauls. Still young, he will open a path for himself through a thousand obstacles and will become their supreme chief. He will go firstly to make war near his country of birth (this is the first Italian campaign). Overseas, he will make war with great glory and valour (this is the Egyptian expedition). Then he will make war again in the Roman world (this is the second Italian campaign and Marengo). He will give laws (this is the Code), will pacify troubles and terrors (allusion to the end of the Revolution), and will be named also, not king, but emperor, by great popular enthusiasm. Fighting everywhere in the empire, he will remove princes, lords, kings, for two lustres and more (which means during more than ten years).“
Nothing needs changing in the beginning of this text by Olivarius, which admirably resumes Bonaparte’s ascension, from his birth to the imperial throne. Let us continue:
“He will come to a great city (this is Paris), putting in order a lot of things, edifices, sea-ports, aqueducts, canals; alone, he will do as much as the Romans. He will have twice a wife, and only one son.”
Olivarius then makes an allusion to Napoleon’s great misfortunes. He writes:
“He will go to war up where the lines of longitude and latitude cross (which means towards the North). There, his enemies will burn the great city (this is Moscow set alight by the Russians). He will enter and leave it with his people from underneath the ashes and ruins. His people having no more bread nor water, by great cold, will be in such a bad way that two thirds of his army will perish (this is the retreat from Russia). Then the great man abandoned, betrayed by his friends (the betrayal of Marmont), will be in turn hunted with great loss right to his own city, by the great European populations (the Allies in Paris, in 1814). In his place, will be put the old King of the Cape (this is the return of Louis XVIII, a Capet, like Louis XVI). As for him, he is forced into exile in the sea from whence he came so young, and near his country of birth (this is the Isle of Elbe). He will remain there eleven moons with some of his people, true friends and soldiers.
“As soon as eleven moons are up, he and his people will take a ship and will come to set foot on the land of the Gauls (this is the return from the Isle of Elbe). And he will travel towards the great city where the old man of the Cape is seated, who will rise, flee, carrying with him the royal ornaments (this is the flight of Louis XVIII and the One-Hundred Days). Hunted again by a trinity of European populations after three and one third moons (which means ninety-six days. We know that the famous One-Hundred Days were really only ninety-four.). The old King of the Cape is put back in his place (return of Louis XVIII and second Restoration). Then, he dictates sovereign counsels to all nations and to all peoples (this is the Memorial of Sainte-Helene) and he dies.”
This is a rather astounding brief account of Napoleon’s life. But that’s not all. In 1550, another doctor and astrologist, living in Salon-de-Provence, the famous Nostradamus, writes about him in his Centuries.
To be continued.