The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel during the late 12th and early to mid-13th century. In ancient cultures, high places were frequently considered to be sacred, and Mount Carmel appears to have been no exception. The Egyptians listed a 'holy headland' identified as Carmel, which would seem to indicate the mountain headland was considered sacred from at least the 15th century BC. According to the Book of Kings, there was an altar to Yahweh on the mountain. It had fallen into ruin but Elijah built a new one. In the Abrahamic traditions, Elijah is associated with the mountain, having sometimes resided in a grotto there. An Arabic name for Carmel is Jabal Mar Elyas, 'Mount of Saint Elias'. Iamblichus records Pythagoras visiting the mountain on account of its reputation for sacredness. Tacitus states that there was an oracle there. Also that there was an altar there, without any image and without a surrounding temple. The Christian hermits built a chapel which they dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whom they conceived of in chivalric terms as the "Lady of the place." Carmelites consider the Blessed Virgin Mary to be a perfect model of the interior life of prayer and contemplation, as well as a model of virtue. She is seen as the one who points Christians most surely to Christ (cf the wedding at Cana: "Do whatever he tells you." Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi, OCD, a revered authority on Carmelite spirituality, wrote that devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel means: "... a special call to the interior life, which is preeminently a Marian life. Our Lady wants us to resemble her not only in our outward vesture but, far more, in heart and spirit. If we gaze into Mary's soul, we shall see that grace in her has flowered into a spiritual life of incalculable wealth: a life of recollection, prayer, uninterrupted oblation to God, continual contact, and intimate union with him. Mary's soul is a sanctuary reserved for God alone, where no human creature has ever left its trace, where love and zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of mankind reign supreme. [...] Those who want to live their devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to the full must follow Mary into the depths of her interior life. Carmel is the symbol of the contemplative life, the life wholly dedicated to the quest for God, wholly orientated towards intimacy with God; and the one who has best realized this highest of ideals is Our Lady herself, 'Queen and Splendour of Carmel'."