Fact check: No evidence Nostradamus wrote ‘a feeble man shall rule the Western World with jezebel’

Shared thousands of times on Facebook, posts claim 16th century French astrologer Nostradamus wrote a quote about “a feeble man” that “shall rule the Western World with jezebel” amid a “plague.” This is false. The quote, which started circulating in late Nov. 2020 after the U.S. presidential election, is probably fabricated to imitate the style of the astrologer, whose four-line verses, known as quatrains, are often said to predict the future.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The alleged quote attributed to Nostradamus in social media posts reads: “A plague shall fall upon the world. After, a feeble man shall rule the Western World with jezebel. The people will be damaged and subjugated by a fool ruler. The great eagle shall suffer and fall.”

Facebook posts with this purported quote can be seen  here ,  herehere . Some iterations visible  here  ,  here  ,  here ,  also include a photograph of U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.  

Reuters found no evidence these words were written by Nostradamus. A search for key words in multiple compilations of his work online ( herehere  ), including “Jezebel”, “Western world” and “feeble man” brought no results.  

The results from a Google search of the quote include a fact-check article by Snopes ( here ), a blog post that does not include a reference but attributes the words to Nostradamus (  here  ) and a meme page ( here ). 

Stephane Gerson, Professor of French, French Studies and History at New York University ( here ) dismissed the possibility of the quote being an authentic Nostradamus quatrain.   

“Following a long-established pattern, someone has apparently written a prediction in a language that is meant to evoke his (perhaps cut-and-pasting various clauses taken from Nostradamus’ quatrains),” Gerson told Reuters via email.

For example, Nostradamus’ book "Les Propheties" (“The Prophecies”) which can be seen  here   contains dozens of references to plagues, floods and famines (see examples: page 15, page 28, page 46). However, this is a common recurring theme in Nostradamus’ work. As previously explained by Gerson  here  , “One should keep in mind that plagues were recurrent in 16th-century Europe, during his lifetime. They were one of the travails about which he wrote.”    

Similarly, “Les Propheties” also contain several references to the term “eagle”, which according to Gerson is a “symbol of the Holy Roman Empire” and not the United States, which had yet to be founded. See examples on page 17, page 20, page 22.

Gerson also noted an anachronism: Nostradamus’ work did not mention a “Western world” as the purported prophecy claims. “Nostradamus speaks here and there of Western coasts or Europe’s Western reaches but not, as far as I can ascertain, of a Western world.”

According to Lexico, a collaboration between and Oxford University Press (OUP), the earliest use that has been found of the phrase “Western World” is from the late 16th century ( here ). Nostradamus died in 1566 ( here ). 

The earliest iteration of this purported “prophecy” Reuters could find on public Facebook groups and pages dates to Nov. 22, 2020 (  here , here ), days after the news media announced that Biden had won the 2020 U.S. presidential election ( here ), further indicating it is likely a recent concoction.  

The claim regained attention after Biden and Harris were sworn in on Jan. 20 ( here ,  https:// ) and continues to circulate.  

Since there is no earlier trace of this alleged quote and a search of keywords in different compilations of Nostradamus work brought no similar results, this “prophecy” is very likely fabricated.

Reuters previously debunked the claim that Nostradamus predicted the Covid-19 pandemic  here . 


False. There is no evidence Nostradamus ever wrote that “a feeble man shall rule the Western World with jezebel.” Earliest record of it circulating online appears to be from November 2020.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts  here  .