Faint Praise vs. Censure

Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights (19.3):

The philosopher Favorinus used to say that it was more disgraceful to receive slight and cold praise than to be bitterly and seriously criticized, “Since,” as he said, “the more savagely someone talks shit and finds fault with you, the more they appear as unfair and hostile, and thus not credible. But one who praises you sparingly and feebly seems to be uncommitted to your cause, and although they are trusted to be the friend of the one whom they wish to praise, they cannot find anything which they might praise justly.”

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Turpius esse dicebat Favorinus philosophus exigue atque frigide laudari quam insectanter et graviter vituperari: “quoniam,” inquit “qui maledicit et vituperat, quanto id acerbius facit, tam maxime pro iniquo et inimico ducitur et plerumque propterea fidem non capit. Sed qui infecunde atque ieiune laudat, destitui a causa videtur et amicus quidem creditur eius, quem laudare vult, sed nihil posse reperire, quod iure laudet.”

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