A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

called SACCAS (Ἀμμώνιος Σακκᾶς, i. e. Σακκοφόρος), or sack-carrier, because his official employment was carrying the corn, landed at Alexandria, as a public porter (saccarius, see Gothlofred ad Cod. Theodos. 14, tit. 22), was born of Christian parents. Porphyry asserts (lib. 3, ad v. Christian. ap. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 6.19), Eusebius (l.c.) and St. Jerome (Vir. Ill. § 55) deny, that he apostatized from the faith. At any rate he combined the study of philosophy with Christianity, and is regarded by those who maintain his apostasy as the founder of the later Platonic School.

Among his disciples are mentioned Longinus, Herennius, Plotinus (Amm. Marcell. xxii.), both Origens, and St. Heraclas. He died A. D. 243, at the age of more than 80 years. A life of Aristotle, prefixed to the Commentary of his namesake on the Categories, has been ascribed to him, but it is probably the work of John Philoponus. The Pagan disciples of Ammonius held a kind of philosophical theology. Faith was derived by inward perception; God was threefold in escence, intelligence, (viz. in knowledge of himself) and power (viz. in activity), the two latter notions being inferior to the tirst; the care of the world was entrusted to gods of an inferior race, below those again were daemons, good and bad; an ascetic life and theurgy led to the knowledge of the Infinite, who was worshipped by the vulgar, only in their national deities. The Alexandrian physics and psychology were in accordance with these principles. If we are to consider him a Christian, he was, besides his philosophy (which would, of course, then be represented by Origen, and not by the pagan Alexandrian school as above described) noted for his writings (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 6.19), especially on the Scriptures. (Euseb. Epist. ad Caspian. à Gallandi's Bibl. Patr. vol. ii.) He composed a Diatessaron, or Harmony of the Gospels, which exists in the Latin version of Victor, bishop of Capua (in the 6th cent., who wrongly ascribed it to Tatian) and of Luscinius. (See Monumenta Patr. Orthodoxographa, i. pt. 2, per Grynaeum, pp. 661-747, fol., Basil., 1569; E Graeco versa per Ottomar. Luscinium. Aug. Vind. 4to., 1523; and in German, Augsb., 8vo., 1524; the version of Victor, Mogunt., 8vo., 1524; Colon., 8vo., 1532 ; in Reg-Imp. et Consist. Monast. B. M. V. de Salem, 8vo., 1774; Biblioth. Patr. à Galland., vol. ii. p. 531, Venet., 1766; where vid. Prolegom.) Besides the Harmony, Ammonius wrote De Consensu Moysis et Jesu (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 6.19), which is praised by St. Jerome (Vir. Illustr. § 55), but is lost.