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The preceptor of Plutarch. He taught philosophy and mathematics at Delphi, and lived during the first century of the Christian era, in the reign of Nero, to whom he acted as interpreter when that monarch visited the temple at Delphi. Plutarch makes frequent mention of him in his writings, and particularly in his treatise on the inscription of the Delphic temple.


Saccas or Saccophŏrus (so called because in early life he had been a porter), a celebrated philosopher, who flourished about the beginning of the third century. He was born at Alexandria, of Christian parents, and was early instructed in the catechetical schools established in that city. Here, under the Christian preceptors, Athenagoras, Pantoenus, and Clemens Alexandrinus, he acquired a strong propensity towards philosophical studies, and became exceedingly desirous of reconciling the different opinions which at that time subsisted among philosophers. Porphyry (ap. Euseb. Hist. Ecc. vi. 19) relates that Ammonius passed over to the legal establishment— that is, apostatized to the pagan religion. Eusebius (l. c.) and Jerome (De S. E. c. 55), on the contrary, assert that Ammonius continued in the Christian faith until the end of his life. But it is probable that those Christian fathers refer to another Ammonius, who, in the third century, wrote a Harmony of the Gospels, or to some other person of this name, for they refer to the sacred books of Ammonius; whereas Ammonius Saccas, as his pupil Longinus attests, wrote nothing. It is not easy, indeed, to account for the particulars related of this philosopher, but upon the supposition of his having renounced the Christian faith. According to Hierocles (De Fato, ap. Phot. Bibl. ii. 461, ed. Bekker), Ammonius was induced to adopt the plan of a distinct eclectic school, by a desire of putting an end to those contentions which had so long distracted the philosophical world. Ammonius had many eminent followers and hearers, both pagan and Christian, who all, doubtless, promised themselves much illumination from a preceptor who undertook to collect into a focus all the rays of ancient wisdom. He taught his select disciples certain sublime doctrines and mystical practices, and was called θεοδίδακτος, “the heaven-taught philosopher.” These mysteries were communicated to them under a solemn injunction of secrecy. Porphyry relates that Plotinus, with the rest of the disciples of Ammonius, promised not to divulge certain dogmas which they learned in his school, but to lodge them safely in their purified minds. This circumstance accounts for the fact mentioned on the authority of Longinus that he left nothing in writing. Ammonius probably died about the year 243.


A Christian writer, a native of Alexandria, who lived about A.D. 250. He wrote a Harmony of the Gospels, which Jerome cites with commendation.


The son of Hermias, so called for distinction's sake from other individuals of the name, was a native of Alexandria, and a disciple of Proclus. He taught philosophy at Alexandria about the beginning of the sixth century. His system was an eclectic one, embracing principles derived from both Aristotle and Plato. He cannot be regarded as an original thinker: he was very strong, however, in mathematics, and in the study of the exact sciences, which rectified his judgment, and preserved him, no doubt, from the extravagances of the New Platonism. Ammonius has left commentaries on the Introduction of Porphyry; on the Categories of Aristotle, together with a life of that philosopher; on his treatise Of Interpretation; and scholia on the first seven books of the Metaphysics. The scholia on the Metaphysics have never been edited.


A priest of one of the Egyptian temples. He was one of the literary men who fled from Alexandria to Constantinople after the destruction of the pagan temples. There he became, together with Helladius, one of the masters of Socrates, the ecclesiastical writer: this is a fact which appears firmly established, and the reasons alleged by Valckenaer for placing him in the first or second century have been generally considered insufficient. Ammonius has left us a work on Greek synonyms, etc., under the title Περὶ ὁμοίων καὶ διαφόρων λέξεων. It is a production of very inferior merit. Valckenaer's edition (1739) has been reprinted entire, but in a more portable form, at Leipzig (1822), under the care of Schæffer, who has added the unedited notes of Kulencamp, and the critical letter of Segaar, addressed to Valckenaer, and published at Utrecht (1776). We have also a treatise of Ammonius, Περὶ ἀκυρολογίας, “On the improper use of words,” which has never been printed.


A physician of Alexandria, famous from his skill in cutting for the stone—an operation which, according to some, he first introduced. He invented an instrument for crushing the larger calculi while in the bladder. He was accustomed also to make use of caustic applications, especially red arsenic in hemorrhages. See Chirurgia.

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