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The Lausiac History Of Palladius by Palladius Of Galatia

[1] HAVING spent four years at Antinoë in the Thebaid, in so long a time I acquired knowledge also of the local monasteries. For some 1200 men are settled round the city, who live by their hands and are extremely ascetic. Reckoned among these there are also anchorites who have shut themselves up in the caves of the rocks. One of these is a certain Solomon, a man of very mild disposition and restrained and possessing the gift of endurance. He used to say that he had been fifty years in the cave. He provided for himself by the work of his hands and had learned by heart all the holy Scriptures.

[2] In another cave lived Dorotheus, a priest. He was extraordinarily good, and having himself lived an irreproachable life was counted worthy of the priesthood, and ministered to the brethren in the caves. To him Melania the younger, grand-daughter of the great Melania, concerning whom I shall speak later, once sent 500 pieces of money, beseeching him to spend them on the brethren there. But he took three only and sent the rest to Diocles the anchorite, a most learned man, saying: “Brother Diocles is wiser than I, and can administer them without doing harm, knowing those who should rightly be helped. For myself, I am content with these.”

[3] This Diocles began in the first instance with the grammar course, but afterwards gave himself to philosophy. However, in course of time grace drew him on, and in the twenty-eighth year of his life he gave up the cycle of studies and gave himself up to Christ; and he had spent thirty-five years in the caves. He told us this: “Intelligence which is separated from the thought of God becomes either a demon or a brute beast.” But since we were curious to know his manner of speaking he explained thus: “Intelligence separated from the thought of God inevitably falls into concupiscence or anger.” And he said concupiscence was beast-like and anger demoniacal. [4] But when I objected: “How can human intelligence be continually with God?” this same man said: “Whenever the soul is engaged in a thought or action that is pious and godly, then it is with God.”

There lived near him a certain Capiton, who had been a robber. He had completed fifty years in the caves four miles from the city of Antinoë, and did not come down from his cave, not even as far as the river Nile, saying that he was not yet able to meet crowds because the Adversary at that instant would oppose him.

[5] With these we saw also another anchorite, himself also (living) in a cave in similar fashion. Being mocked in dreams by the frenzy of vainglory, he mocked in his turn those that deceived themselves, “feeding the winds.” And he possessed bodily continence thanks to his age and his long time (in the desert), and perhaps also thanks to his vainglory. On the other hand, his judgment was perverted owing to the unrestrained character of his vainglory.








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