“Athenaeus Was a Confident Clown”

From Bentley’s Dissertation Upon the Epistles of Phalaris, Preface XCIX

“But if an Itch of contradicting Great men upon very slight ground has a relish of Pedantry; to abuse and revile Great men, and that without any ground at all, must be the very Spirit and Quintessence of it. And we know a late Writer*, that in the very entrance of his Work calls Dion Chrysostom, as errant a Sophist and Declaimer as ever was, and his Discourse tedious and insipid; that says Manilius has no wit in him, and is as unlike to Ovid, as Thersites was to Nireus; that says, Laertius is a writer of Dr. B’s own Form, which, as He has been pleas’d to use me, is the vilest of Characters; that calls Athenaeus rude and insolent, and a confident clown, when the sole occasion of it is his own Ignorance. I shall give here a short account of his affront upon Athenaeus, to shew what a strange compound must go to the making up of a Defender of Phalaris.

*That is, Charles Boyle, in contradiction of whom Bentley’s entire preface is rather violently written.

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