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?
Of all agricultural commodities, the apple has the longest history.
God had told her to resist the lure of the red fruit! Alas, only after Eve had chewed the apple that problems started.
Troubles for men, of course, but also for the apple itself, decked from that moment with a great reputation: the Middle Ages, in particular, will not cease to represent the apple tree as the tempter. Yet! Nothing says that the fruit of knowledge was an apple.
One can even doubt and think that the analogy between the two Latin words denoting the apple (malum) and evil (malus) is the main reason in the choice of this fruit. Moreover, the first mention of the apple as the fruit of the original sin only appears at the fifth century of our era!
Far from feminine curves and cheeks jugglers, traditions also want the apple to be considered the mythical and mystical fruit par excellence, a symbol of immortality, wisdom and supreme authority as the golden apple which, under the Roman Emperors represented the earth or the sun.
Also present on the equestrian statue of Justinian in Constantinople, holding in his hand a gilded copper globe nicknamed the “red apple”: it is on this globe that the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire placed a cross emblem as a new representation of power. From the time of Adam and Eve to the present day, the apple is the fruit steeped in history and symbolism. It went through the ages, but it has also played a role in mythology. Discover some of its history now.
Did you know that the Neolithic man from the plateaus of Anatolia was a gastronome: it is he who first appreciated the edible varieties produced by a shrub as apple appeared on earth here 80 million years ago. It is also he who will lead Apple to conquer the temperate regions of Europe and, much later, the world.
The beautiful Thetis, sea goddess, did not stand to be evicted for the beauty price given to Venus. When the goddess of love, in search of beads and shells on the shores of Normandy put her apple on a rock, a newt stole it and brought it to Thetis. Therefore she sowed the seeds in the neighboring country, which explains the large number of apple trees growing in Normandy and the singular beauty of the daughters of this country. This love apple product today is the great Norman cider!
In proposing this golden apple to the most beautiful woman in world, Eris, the nymph Discord was sure and certain to sow discord! In fact, by offering an apple to Aphrodite, the shepherd Pâris certainly won the love of Helen, but at the same time attracted the wrath of her husband Menelaus and of the two goddesses, Hera and Athena. That is how, once again, an apple with a seductive appeal led to misfortune: nothing less than the Trojan War!
It is also an apple that blocked the race of Atalanta and a series of apples will be at stake in the torture of Tantalus. Not to mention the golden apples of the Hesperides that Hercules, among other works, stole with the help of Atlas.
The Greeks were not mistaken either. Three centuries before our era, in his History of Plants, Theophrastus distinguished six varieties of apples mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey with the flattering term “beautiful fruit”: the rustic, the wild, the early spring, the sweet, the epirotic and the urban apple. Six different types of varieties that the Romans increased to a good thirty until pomology, consecrated as a true science in the late 16th century, found more than one hundred in France alone!
In the 19th century, a golden age saw the creation of numerous apple varieties as they get more tasty and better suited for wide dissemination. It is then over 500 varieties well differentiated that are described at the time in the dictionary which put some order in the existing nomenclature. The work of many botanists will do the rest: the fruit of many intersections and developments, apple now boasts a range of six thousands gourmet varieties spread across the world.
Nowadays this fruit continues to mark our imagination. The apple is considered by medical scientists one of the best food to fight diabetes and other disease and stay healthy. And after all New York City is called The Big Apple. One of the largest high-tech company is called Apple. Last but not least, a part of the human body is called Adam’s apple.