Ammon (Ἄμμων) wrote a work on katarchic astrology titled On Inceptions (περὶ καταρχῶν), although only two very brief paragraphs from this work survive, which were added to a manuscript of a work by the Byzantine poet John Tzetzes as scholia. Aside from a reference to Ammon by Tzetzes in his Allegories on the Illiad,(1) he is otherwise unknown and his dating is uncertain.
Some of the discourses in the philosophical Hermetica take place between Hermes and Ammon. A number of fragments from Stobaeus in particular address the concepts of fate, providence and necessity, sometimes touching upon astrology by referring to the planets as the instruments of fate.(2) It seems likely that “Ammon” is another pseudepigraphical author like “Hermes” who astrological works were attributed to in the Hellenistic period, although not as widely.
The fragments of Ammon’s work were edited and published by Arthur Ludwich in his edition of Manetho in 1877.(3) The text is as follows:
Ἐν προπικοῖς οὔτ’ ἂρ γαμέειν καλὸν οὔτε γάμοιο μνηςτείην καλὸν οὔτε γάμοιο μνηστείην ἐρατὴν τελέειν, οὐ κτήσιος ὠνήν • μηδὲ δαημοσύνην τέχνης τινὸς ἄρχεο τῆμος. εἰ δὲ καὶ ἄλλο τι πρᾶγμα θέλεις μίμνειν ἐπὶ δηρόν, μὴ σύγε τοῦτ’ ἔρξῃς τροπικοῖς Μήνης ἐνεούης • πάντα γὰρ ἐν προπικοῖσι παλίντροπα ἐκελέθουσι, καὶ χρησμοὶ καὶ ὄνειροι ψεύδοντ’ ἐν τροπικοῖσι. ῥηιδίως δ’ ὁ λαβὼν καὶ ἀσπαςίως ἀποτίσει. πλώειν δ’ εἰς ξείνην καὶ ὁδεύειν ἢν ἐλέλῃσθα, ἐν προπικοῖς κέλομαι • νόστος δέ τοι ἔσσεται ὠκύς, καὶ εἰς οἶκον ἴθι τῆμος ξείνης ἀπὸ γαίης. ἢν δὲ φύγῃ θεράπων κακομήχανος ἐν τροπικοῖσιν, ἂψ εἰς οἶκον ἄνακτος ἐλεύσεται οὐδ’ ὑπαλύξει • κλέψας δ’ ἐν τροπικοῖσιν ἁλίσκεται οὐδέ τε λήσει.
Ἐν στερεοῖς ζῴοις ξείνην εἰς γαῖαν ἐπειχθεὶς δηρὸν ἐκεῖ μενέεις, καί τοι νόστος βραδύς ἐστιν. ἀρξαμένη δὲ νόσος στερεοῖς κακή • οὐδὲ γὰρ ὦκα παύεται, ἀλλὰ μένει τε νόσος καὶ πολλάκις ἄνδρας ὤλεσεν, εἰ μή τις Μήνην θεὸς εἴσιδεν ἐσθλός.
- John Tzetzes, Tzetzae Allegoriae Iliadis, book 7: 126, ed. Jean François Boissonade, Paris, 1851, pg. 123. [link]
- Stobaeus, Anthology, ed. Wachsmuth, Book 1, Ch. 5: 20 (vol. 1, pg. 82).
- Arthur Ludwich, Maximi et Ammonis Carminum de actionum auspiciis reliquiae. Accedunt Anecdota Astrologica, Teubner, Lipsiae, 1877, pgs. 51-54. [link]
- Entry on “Ammon” in The Encyclopedia of the Ancient Natural Scientists, ed. Keyser and Irby-Massie, Routledge, 2008, pg. 65
- Author: Chris Brennan
- Originally published: January 31, 2009 | Last updated: July 2, 2011
- Cite this article: Chris Brennan, “Ammon”, The Hellenistic Astrology Website, July 2, 2011, http://www.hellenisticastrology.com/astrologers/ammon/