"Not Worth His Salt"

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Last Updated on August 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 174

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Context: The author and Ascyltos, two pupils of Agamemnon, a teacher of rhetoric, are at the home of Trimalchio for dinner. They discuss the difficulties of various professions, especially a doctor's and a money-changer's. At this point, "tickets were carried round in a cup, and a boy who was entrusted with this duty read aloud the names of the presents for the guests." That is, each ticket had a riddle on it concealing the name of the present. Ascyltos begins to make fun of everything and to laugh uproariously. One of Trimalchio's men gets angry and berates him:

. . . "What are you laughing at, sheep's head?" he said. "Are our host's good things not good enough for you? I suppose you are richer and used to better living? As I hope to have the spirits of this place on my side, if I had been sitting next him I should have put a stopper on his bleating by now. A nice young shaver to laugh at other people! Some vagabond fly-by-night not worth his salt."


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