AMMONIUS SACCAS (’Αμμωνιος Σακκας)—the founder of a neo-Platonic school, b. around 175 AD in Alexandria, d. in 242.
According to Porphyry and Proclus, Ammonius Saccas was a Christian who converted to paganism after becoming acquainted with Greek philosophy; Eusebius and Jerome fought against this view as slanderous, stated that Ammonius Saccas never renounced Christianity, and said that those who could not forgive him for being a Christian said he was an apostate. There is also a hypothesis that Ammonius was a Buddhist monk who came from India and was to return there.
Ammonius is regarded as the founder of a neo-Platonic school and among his students we find mention of Origen, Longinus, Herennius, Plotinus, and others. Ammonius Saccas left no works behind; his views are known only from later authors, especially from the writings of Hierocles, Nemesius, Eusebius, and Porphyry. We may gather from these that Ammonius Saccas combined Platonism and mysticism, and his thought is permeated with religious elements.
F. Heinemann, Ammonius Sakkas und die Ursprung des Neuplatonismus, Hermes 64 (1926), 1–27; E. Seeberg, Ammonius Sakkas, Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte (1942), 136–170; E. Elorduy, Ammonius Sakkas le legenda de su apostasia, Pensamiento 3 (1947), 5–27; idem, Es Ammonius Sakkas el pseudo-Areopagita?, Estudios eclesiásticos (1948), 501–577; idem, La filosofia estoica absorbida por la filosofia cristiana, Sophia (1948); S. Caramella, Il cristianesimo di Ammonius Sakkas, Nuovo Didaskalion (1948), 62 f.; H. Dörrie, Ammonius, der Lehrer Plotins, Hermes 93 (1955), 449–477; E. R. Dodds, Numenios a. Ammonius, in: Les sources de Plotin, G 1960, 3–61.