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Fountain of Youth

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« on: May 19, 2010, 01:21:43 pm »

Early accounts

Herodotus mentions a fountain containing a very special kind of water located in the land of the Ethiopians, which gives the Ethiopians their exceptional longevity.[1] A story of the "Water of Life" appears in the Eastern versions of the Alexander romance, which describes Alexander the Great and his servant crossing the Land of Darkness to find the restorative spring. The servant in that story is in turn derived from Middle Eastern legends of Al-Khidr, a sage who appears also in the Qur'an. Arabic and Aljamiado versions of the Alexander Romance were very popular in Spain during and after the period of Moorish rule, and would have been known to the explorers who journeyed to America. These earlier accounts clearly inspired the popular medieval fantasy The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, which also mentions the fountain. Due to the influence of these tales, the Fountain of Youth legend remained popular through the European Age of Exploration.[2]
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