Why should gregariousness drive men out of crowded Egyptian cities into the cells of the Thebaid? The parallel with the dog is not a valid one. Does not the truth lie rather in the supposition that it is not the Friend that is the instinctive delusion but the isolation?

Philadelphus, when young, had married Arsinoë, the daughter of Lysimachus of Thrace, by whom he had three children, Ptolemy, who succeeded him, Lysimachus, and Berenicê; but, having found that his wife was intriguing with Amyntas, and with his physician Chrysippus of Rhodes, he put these two to death and banished the Queen Arsinoë to Koptos in the Thebaid.

While he was living there, the Great Oasis was overrun by the Blemmyes, the Roman garrison was defeated, and those that resisted were put to the sword. The Blemmyes pillaged the place and then withdrew; and, being themselves at war with the Mazices, another tribe of Arabs, they kindly sent their prisoners to the Thebaid, lest they should fall into the hands of the latter.

If you could enjoy for two minutes the riches which God dispenses to the enlightened men who consider love as merely a passing need which it is sufficient to satisfy for six months in their twentieth year; to the men who, scorning the luxurious and surfeiting beefsteaks of Normandy, feed on the roots which God has given in abundance, and take their repose on a bed of withered leaves, like the recluses of the Thebaid! ah! you would not keep on three seconds the wool of fifteen merinos which covers you; you would fling away your childish switch, and go to live in the heaven of heavens!

They lose in the midst of this enchanted and false life, like theatrical fairyland, the true idea of life in general, and Christian life in particular. And we can confidently affirm that all those who do not make for themselves, apart from the crowd, a kind of Thebaid and there are such are pagans.

For by celibacy, rigorous fasts, perfect bodily quiescence, and intense contemplation of one thought, they, too, pretended to be able to rise above the body into the heavenly regions, and to behold things unspeakable, which nevertheless, like most other unspeakable things, contrived to be most carefully detailed and noised abroad.... And it was with a half feeling of shame that she prepared herself that afternoon for one more, perhaps one last attempt, to scale the heavens, as she recollected how many an illiterate monk and nun, from Constantinople to the Thebaid, was probably employed at that moment exactly as she was.

Listen further: 'Lollius detested fraud and cupidity; he despised money which seduces most men abstinens ducentis ad se cuncta pecuniae. This trait is very striking; I find even, between ourselves, that our dear count despises money entirely too much, he turns from it in horror, its very name is odious to him; he is an Epictetus, he is a Diogenes, he is an anchorite of ancient times who would live happily in a Thebaid.

Can I tell him, "I have taken your children to the Thebaid, and killed them, while I remained alive, and I have come to Memphis still alive"? Then he made them bring him a linen cloth of striped byssus; he made a band, and bound the book firmly, and tied it upon him. Na.nefer.ka.ptah then went out of the awning of the royal boat and fell into the river.

But in a little time the Thebaid, long disaffected, seceded from the federation of Egypt and crowned Amon-meses king of Thebes. Seti gathered his army, marched against the rebellious district, put Amon-meses to the sword and reduced the Thebaid to submission. Then he returned to Memphis for another space of prosperity.

For though the demons are, in reality, hideous, they sometimes assume an appearance of beauty which prevents their real nature from being recognised. The ascetics of the Thebaid were amazed to see in their cells phantasms of delights unknown even to the voluptuaries of the age.