The Fountain of Youth was a miraculous spring whose waters had the power to restore youth to anyone who bathed in it, and to a lesser extent regenerate the forces of those who drank it.
The search for immortality goes back to the origins of man. Yet it is only in the last century that life expectancy has increased dramatically.
Life expectancy has changed little over the centuries. In the early nineteenth century it was only about 33 years in France. Wars, famines and epidemics were the main reasons. By cons between 1900 and 2000 live expectancy rose rapidly from 48 to 79 years. The life of humanity has changed dramatically with the arrival of running water facilitating access to sanitation. Important advances in medicine, such as vaccines and antibiotics, have greatly contributed to the rise of this score.
But even the most optimistic scientists did not expect such an increase. In the 20s the demographer Louis Dublin thought it was impossible to exceed 65 years. For the record, he died in 1969 at the age of 87. Currently the countries topping the list are Japan, Hong Kong, Qatar, Iceland, France and Switzerland.
In Europe women can expect to live 84.7 years and men 80.3 years. Will it be possible to push the biological limits and move towards the myth of the fountain of youth? Despite advances in science, it seems unlikely. In fact, life expectancy in the United States recently has begun to decline slightly threatened by obesity, cancer and pollution.
A recent study shows that scientists at the Harvard School of Medicine might have discovered a gene that could be likened to the mythical Fountain of Youth. Indeed the gene in question possess strange healing properties, which when injected in an adult rat led to faster regeneration of cartilage, bone, tissue and hair.
This miracle substance would be present in infants and die over time, which explains the deterioration of the human body. To enjoy all of its benefits scientists believe an extract could be made into a drug or treatment to heal wounds after surgery or cancer or inflammatory diseases. It does not contain the power of eternal life as the fountain of youth but could be a major breakthrough in the medical field.
Aging is often associated with a loss of physical abilities, explaining why man has been seeking the fountain of youth for centuries. Back pain, muscle mass shrinkage, weakening of the heart, lower mental cognition, etc, are all examples of the symptoms. Exercising is crucial for combating aging: unlock your hip flexors, take HIIT classes, practice yoga, enjoy swimming, if you want a happy life in your older days.
One famous man who was looking for the fountain of youth but died very early at only 33 years of age is Alexander the Great.
Alexander the Great was born as Alexander III of Macedon on 20 or 21 July 356 BC in Pella, a part of ancient Greece to Philip II of Macedon and Olympias of Epirus. Till the age of 16, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle and following the death of his father, Alexander inherited the strong Greek kingdom and an able army.
He went on to become the greatest and most powerful commander of all times and created the largest empire of the ancient world from the Himalayas on one end to the Ionian Sea on the other, all by the age of thirty.
After he gained succession to the throne in 336 BC, he was also awarded the generalship of Greece; he used this authority and power to launch military expansions which saw the beginning of Alexander’s reign over the world. His first invasion was in 334 BC when he conquered Asia Minor which was till then under the rule of Persia.
For ten years, Alexander waged many successful battles, the most notable ones being battles of Issus and Gaugamela which saw the decline of the Persian power. Alexander the Great finally overthrew Darius III who was the ruler of Persia and conquered the entire Persian Empire. During this time, he began to be known as the Shahanshah of Persia, one among his many titles.
Alexander wanted to expand his Empire beyond the Great Outer Sea and with this intention invaded India in 326 BC. But he was forced to withdraw at the behest of his own troops and had to return back. He died in Babylon in 323 BC without fulfilling many campaigns and invasions that he had planned to conquer Arabia.
Alexander had three wives, Roxana of Bactria, Stateira II of Persia and Parysatis II of Persia. He was succeeded to the throne by his offspring, Alexander IV of Macedon, who lacked his father’s insight or military skills. Soon, the empire was torn apart by civil wars resulting in the formation of many smaller states.
Alexander’s name has become a legacy and he is often hailed as a classical hero among military leaders. He is perhaps, the most prominent feature of mythical and historical Greek culture and has more than twenty cities named after him, the most notable one being Alexandria in Egypt.
Alexander died at a very young age of 32 after contracting a fever which worsened and resulted in his death. Foul play was rumored and many of his officers believed that he was poisoned. But this was dismissed as just a fabricated story; today, there are many theories about Alexander’s death by both the scientific and non-scientific world.
Alexander was finally laid to rest in a gold anthropoid sarcophagus which was encased in another gold casket. The details of his tomb are now hazy but history has it that after a lot of political turmoil, he was buried in Alexandria. Alexander the Great continues to be remembered as a powerful military warrior and conqueror whose tactics and methods are still taught in many military academies around the world.
So if you are thinking of a nice holiday, why not checking beautiful Greece to see ruins of Ancient Greece?