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7 people who gave up on civilization to live in the wild

By: Bryan Nelson on April 16, 2010, 1:06 p.m.
Saint Anthony the Great was the first of the Desert Fathers to head into the wilderness.

Photo: Juan Rexach/Wikimedia Commons

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The Desert Fathers

Escaping the impiety of civilization for the spiritual purity of nature has been a major motivation for monks and zealots of various creeds and religions throughout history as they search for God or enlightenment. One example of this were the "Desert Fathers," Christian hermits of the third century who abandoned the cities of the "pagan world" to live in solitude in the desert of Egypt. Among the best known of the Desert Fathers was Anthony the Great, who was the first known ascetic to go directly into the wilderness, a geographical shift that seems to have contributed to his renown.