The third day had now arrived, the date appointed for the free banquet  at Trimalchio’s; but with so many wounds as we had, we deemed it better policy to fly than to remain where we were. So we made the best of our way to our inn, and our hurts being only skin-deep after all, we lay in bed and dressed them with wine and oil. Still one of the rascals was lying on the ground disabled, and we were afraid we might yet be discovered. Whilst we were still debating sadly with ourselves how we might best escape the storm, a slave of Agamemnon’s broke into our trembling assembly, crying, “What! don't you recollect whose entertainment it is this day?-- Trimalchio's, a most elegant personage; he has a time-piece in his dining-room and a trumpeter specially provided for the purpose keeps him constantly informed how much of his lifetime is gone.” So, forgetting all our troubles, we proceed to groom and dress ourselves carefully, and bid Giton, who had previously always been very ready to act as servant, to attend us at the bath. 
[ch. 27] Meantime in our best clothes, we began to stroll about, or rather to amuse ourselves by approaching the different groups of ball-players. Amongst these we all of a sudden catch sight of a bald-headed old man in a russet tunic, playing ball amid a troupe of long-haired boys. It was not however so much the boys, though these were well worth looking at, that drew us to the spot, as the master himself, who wore sandals and was playing with green balls. He never stooped for a ball that had once touched ground, but an attendant stood by with a sackful, and supplied the players as they required them. We noticed other novelties too. For two eunuchs  were stationed at opposite points of the circle, one holding a silver chamber-pot, while the other counted the balls, not those that were in play and flying from hand to hand, but such as fell on the floor.
We were still admiring these refinements of elegance when Menelaus  runs up, saying, “See! that’s the gentleman you are to dine with; why! this is really nothing else than a prelude to the entertainment.” He had not finished speaking when Trimalchio snapped his fingers, and at the signal the eunuch held out the chamber-pot for him, without his ever stopping play. After easing his bladder, he called for water, and having dipped his hands momentarily in the bowl, dried them on one of the lads' hair.
[ch. 28] There was no time to notice every detail; so we entered the bath, and after stewing in the sweating-room, passed instantly into the cold chamber. Trimalchio, after being drenched with unguent, was being rubbed down, not however with ordinary towels but with pieces of blanketing of the softest and finest wool. Meanwhile three bagnio doctors were swilling Falernian under his eyes; and seeing how the fellows were brawling over their liquor and spilling most of it, Trimalchio declared it was a libation  they were making in his particular honor.
Presently muffled in a over-garment of scarlet frieze,  he was placed in a litter, preceded by four running-footmen in tinseled liveries, and a wheeled chair, in which his favorite rode, a little old young man, sore-eyed and uglier even than his master. As the litter was carried along, a musician took up his place at this head with a pair of miniature flutes, and played softly to him, as if he were whispering secrets in his ear. Full of wonder we follow the procession and arrive at the same moment as Agamemnon at the outer door, on one of the pillars of which was suspended a tablet bearing the words:
ANY SLAVE GOING ABROAD WITHOUT THE MASTER'S PERMISSION SHALL RECEIVE ONE HUNDRED LASHES
Just within the vestibule stood the doorkeeper, dressed in green with a cherry-colored sash, busy picking peas in a silver dish. Over the threshold hung a gold cage with a black and white magpie in it, which greeted visitors on their entrance.
[ch. 29] But as I was staring open-eyed at all these fine sights, I came near tumbling backwards and breaking my legs. For to the left hand as you entered, and not far from the porter's lodge, a huge chained dog was depicted on the wall, and written above in capital letters:
BEWARE THE DOG! BEWARE THE DOG! 
Greg Willis, photograph, Cave canem, Roman mosaic at the entrance to the House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii, Italy, 2nd century BCE, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
My companions made merry at my expense; but soon regaining confidence, I fell to examining the other paintings on the walls. One of these represented a slave-market, the men standing up with labels round their necks, while in another Trimalchio himself, wearing long hair, holding a caduceus  in his hand and led by Minerva,  was entering Rome. Further on, the ingenious painter had shown him learning accounts, and presently made steward of the estate, each incident being made clear by explanatory inscriptions. Lastly, at the extreme end of the portico, Mercury  was lifting the hero by the chin and placing him on the highest seat of a tribunal. Fortune stood by with her cornucopia,  and the three Fates, spinning his destiny with a golden thread. 
Wolfgang Reiger, photograph, Punishment of Ixion: in the center is Mercury holding the caduceus. On the right is Juno on her throne, and behind her Iris stands and gestures. On the left is Vulcanus (blond figure) manning the wheel, with Ixion already tied to the wheel. Nephele sits at Mercury's feet. Roman fresco from the eastern wall of the triclinium in the Casa dei Vettii ("House of the Vetii", VI 15, 1), owned by two freedmen, in Pompeii, Fourth Style (60-79 AD). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
I noticed likewise in the portico a gang of running-footmen exercising under a trainer. Moreover I saw in a corner a vast armory; and in a shrine inside were ranged Lares of silver,  and a marble statue of Venus,  and a golden casket of ample dimensions, in which they said the great man's first beard was preserved. I now asked the hall-keeper what were the subjects of the frescoes in the atrium itself? “The Iliad and Odyssey,” he replied, “and on your left the combat of gladiators given under Laenas.” 
Wlfgang Rieger, photograph, scene from the Trojan war: Cassandra clings to the Xoanon, the wooden cult image of Athene, while Ajax the Lesser is about to drag her away in front of her father Priam (standing on the left). Fresco from the atrium of the Casa del Menandro (I 10, 4) in Pompeii, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
[ch. 30] We had no opportunity of examining the numerous paintings more minutely, having by this time reached the banquet-hall, at the outer door of which the house-steward sat receiving accounts. But the thing that surprised me most was to notice on the doorposts of the apartment fasces and axes fixed up, the lower part terminating in an ornament resembling the bronze beak of a ship, on which was inscribed: TO GAIUS POMPEIUS TRIMALCHIO, AUGUSTAL SEVIR, CINNAMUS HIS TREASURER.  Underneath this inscription hung a lamp with two lights, depending from the vaulting. Two other tablets were attached to the doorposts. One, if my memory serves me, bore the following inscription: ON DECEMBER THIRTIETH AND THIRTY-FIRST OUR MASTER GAIUS DINES ABROAD. The other showed the phases of the moon and the seven planets, while lucky and unlucky days were marked by distinctive studs. When, sated with all these fine sights, we were just making for the entrance of the banquet-hall, one of the slaves, stationed there for the purpose, called out, “Right foot first!”  Not unnaturally there was a moment's hesitation, for fear one of us should break the rule. But this was not all; for just as we stepped out in line right leg foremost, another slave, stripped of his outer garments, threw himself before our feet, beseeching us to save him from punishment. Not indeed that his fault was a very serious one; in point of fact the Intendant’s clothes had been stolen when in his charge at the bath,-- a matter of ten sesterces [37b] or so at the most. So facing about, still right foot in front, we approached the Intendant, who was counting gold in the hall, and asked him to forgive the poor man. He looked up haughtily and said, “It’s not so much the loss that annoys me as the rascal’s carelessness. He has lost my dinner robes, which a client  gave me on my birthday, -- genuine Tyrian purple, I assure you, though only once dipped. But there! I will pardon the delinquent at your request.” 
[ch. 31] Deeply grateful for so signal a favor, we now returned to the banquet-hall, where we were met by the same slave for whom we had interceded, who to our astonishment overwhelmed us with a perfect storm of kisses, thanking us again and again for our humanity. “Indeed,” he cried, “you shall presently know who it is you have obliged; the master’s wine is the cup-bearer’s thank-offering.” Well! At last we take our places,  Alexandrian slave-boys  pouring snow water over our hands, and others following them to wash our feet and clean our toe-nails with extreme dexterity. Not even while engaged in this unpleasant office were they silent, but sang away over their work. I had a mind to try whether all the house servants were singers and accordingly asked for a drink of wine. Instantly an attendant was at my side, pouring out the liquor to the accompaniment of the same sort of shrill recitative. Demand what you would, it was the same; you might have supposed yourself among a troupe of pantomime actors rather than at a respectable citizen’s table. Then the preliminary course was served in very elegant style. For all were now at table except Trimalchio, for whom the first place was reserved, by a reversal of ordinary usage. Among the other hors d’oeuvres stood a little donkey of Corinthian bronze with a packsaddle holding olives, green olives on one side, black on the other. The animal was flanked right and left by silver dishes, on the rim of which Trimalchio’s name was engraved and the weight. On arches built up in the form of miniature bridges were dormice seasoned with honey and poppy-seed.  There were sausages, too, smoking hot on a silver grill, and underneath (to imitate coals) Syrian plums and pomegranate seeds.
[ch. 32] We were in the middle of these elegant trifles when Trimalchio himself was carried in to the sound of music, and was bolstered up among a host of tiny cushions, a sight that set one or two indiscreet guests laughing. And no wonder; his bald head poked up out of a scarlet mantle, his neck was closely muffled, and over all was laid a napkin with a broad purple stripe or laticlave, and long fringes hanging down either side. Moreover he wore on the little finger of his left hand a massive ring of silver gilt, and on the last joint of the next finger a smaller ring, apparently of solid gold, but starred superficially with little ornaments of steel. No! To show this was not the whole of his magnificence, his left arm was bare, and displayed a gold bracelet and an ivory circlet with a sparkling clasp to put it on. 
[ch. 33] After picking his teeth with a silver toothpick, “My friends,” he began, “I was far from desirous of coming to table just yet, but that I might not keep you waiting by my own absence, I have sadly interfered with my own amusement. But will you permit me to finish my game?” A slave followed him, bearing a draughtsboard of terebinth wood and crystal dice. One special bit of refinement I noticed; instead of the ordinary black and white tokens he had medals of gold and silver respectively. Meantime, while he is exhausting the vocabulary of a tinker over the game, and we are still at the hors d’oeuvres, a dish was brought in with a basket on it, in which lay a wooden hen, her wings outspread round her as if she were sitting. Instantly a couple of slaves came up, and to the sound of lively music began to search the straw, and pulling out a lot of peafowls eggs one after the other, handed them round to the company. Trimalchio turns his head at this, saying, “My friends, it was by my orders the hen set on the peafowl’s eggs over there; but by God! I am very much afraid they are half-hatched. Nevertheless we can test whether they are edible.”  For our part, we take our spoons, which weighed at least half a pound each, and break the eggs, which were made of paste. I was on the point of throwing mine away, for I thought I discerned a chick inside. But when I overheard a veteran guest saying, “There should be something good here!” I further investigated the shell, and found a very fine fat beccafico  swimming in yolk of egg flavored with pepper.
[ch. 34] Trimalchio had by this time stopped his game and been helped to all the dishes before us. He had just announced in a loud voice that any of us who wanted a second supply of honeyed wine had only to ask for it, when suddenly at a signal from the band, the hors d’oeuvres are whisked away by a troupe of slaves, all singing too. But in the confusion a silver dish happened to fall and a slave picked it up again from the floor; this Trimalchio noticed, and boxing the fellow's ears, berated him soundly and ordered him to throw it down again. Then a groom came in and began to sweep up the silver along with the other refuse with his broom.
He was succeeded by two long-haired Ethiopians, carrying small leather skins, like the fellows that water the sand in the amphitheater,  who poured wine over our hands; for no one thought of offering water.
After being duly complimented on this refinement, our host cried out, “Fair play's a jewel!” and accordingly ordered a separate table to be assigned to each guest. “In this way,” he said, “by preventing any crowding, the stinking servants won’t make us so hot.”
Simultaneously there were brought in a number of wine-jars of glass carefully stoppered with plaster, and having labels attached to their necks reading: FALERNIAN; OPIMIAN VINTAGE ONE HUNDRED YEARS OLD.  Whilst we were reading the labels, Trimalchio exclaimed, striking his palms together, “Alas! to think wine is longer lived than poor humanity! Well! Full cups then! There’s life in wine. ‘Tis the right Opimian, I give you my word. I didn’t bring out any so fine yesterday, and much better men than you were dining with me.”
So we drank our wine and admired all this luxury in good set terms. Then the slave brought in a silver skeleton, so artfully fitted that its articulations and vertebrae were all movable and would turn and twist in any direction.  After he had tossed this once or twice on the table, causing the loosely jointed limbs to take various postures, Trimalchio moralized thus:
Alas! how less than nothing are we;
Fragile life’s thread, and brief our day!
What this is now, we all shall be;
Drink and make merry while you may.
[ch. 35] Our applause was interrupted by the second course, which did not by any means come up to our expectations. Still the oddity of the thing drew the eyes of all. An immense circular tray bore the twelve signs of the zodiac displayed round the circumference, on each of which the Arranger had placed a dish of suitable and appropriate viands: on the Ram ram’s-head peas, on the Bull a piece of beef, on the Twins fried testicles and kidneys, on the Crab simply a crown, on the Lion African figs, on a Virgin a sow’s innards, on Libra a balance with a tart in one scale and a cheesecake in the other, on Scorpio a small sea-fish, on Sagittarius an eye-seeker,  on Capricornus a lobster, on Aquarius a wild goose, on Pisces two mullets.  In the middle was a sod of green turf, cut to shape and supporting a honey-comb. Meanwhile an Egyptian slave was carrying bread around in a miniature oven of silver, crooning to himself in a horrible voice a song on wine and laserpitium. Seeing us look rather blank at the idea of attacking such common fare, Trimalchio cried, “I pray you gentlemen, begin; the best of your dinner is before you.”
Mosaic pavement of a 6th century synagogue at Beth Alpha, Jezreel valley, currently northern Israel, discovered in 1928. Signs of the zodiac surround the central chariot of the Sun (a Greek motif), while the corners depict the 4 "turning points" of the year, solstices and equinoxes, each named for the month in which it occurs. Uploaded by Maksim, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
[ch. 36] No sooner had he spoken than four fellows ran prancing in, keeping time to the music, and whipped off the top of the tray. This done, we beheld underneath, on a second tray in fact, stuffed capons, a sow’s udders, and as a centerpiece a hare fitted with wings to represent Pegasus.  We noticed besides four figures of Marsyas,  one at each corner of the tray, spouting out peppered fish-sauce over the fishes swimming in the channel of the dish.
We all join in the applause started by the slaves and laughingly start sampling the choice dishes. Trimalchio, as pleased as anybody with a device of the sort, now called out, “Cut!” Instantly the Carver advanced, and posturing in time to the music, sliced up the joint with such antics you might have thought him a jockey struggling to pull off a chariot-race to the thunder of the organ. Yet all the while Trimalchio kept repeating in a wheedling voice, “Cut! Cut!” For my part, suspecting there was some clever joke connected with this everlasting repetition of the word, I made no bones about asking the question of the guest who sat immediately above me. He had often witnessed similar scenes and told me at once, “You see the man who is carving; well; his name is Cut. The master is calling and commanding him at one and the same time.”
[ch. 37] Unable to eat any more, I now turned towards my neighbor in order to gather what information I could, and after indulging in a string of general remarks, presently asked him, “Who is that lady bustling up and down the room yonder?” “Trimalchio's lady,” he replied; “her name is Fortunata,  and she counts her coin by the bushelful! Before? What was she before? Why! my dear Sir! saving your respect, you would have been mighty sorry to take bread from her hand. Now, by hook or by crook, she’s got to heaven, and is Trimalchio’s factotum.  In fact if she told him it was dark night at high noon, he’d believe her. The man’s rolling in riches, and really can’t tell what he has and what he hasn't got; still his good lady looks keenly after everything, and is on the spot where you least expect to see her. She’s temperate, sober and well advised, but she has a sharp tongue of her own and chatters like a magpie between the bed-curtains. When she likes a man, she likes him; and when she doesn’t, well! she doesn’t. As for Trimalchio, his lands reach as far as the kites fly, and his money breeds money. I tell you, he has more coin lying idle in his porter’s lodge than would make another man’s whole fortune. Slaves! why, heaven and earth! I don’t believe one in ten knows his own master by sight. For all that, there’s never a one of the fine fellows a word of his wouldn’t send scuttling into the nearest rat-hole.
[ch. 38] And don’t you imagine he ever buys anything; every mortal thing is home grown,-- wool, rosin, pepper; call for hen’s milk and he’d supply you! As a matter of fact his wool was not first-rate originally; but he purchased rams at Tarentum and so improved the breed. To get home-made Attic honey he had bees imported directly from Athens, hoping at the same time to benefit the native insects a bit by a cross with the Greek fellows. Why! Only the other day he wrote to India for mushroom spawn. He has not a single mule but was got by a wild ass. You see all these mattresses; never a one that is not stuffed with the finest wool, purple or scarlet as the case may be. Lucky, lucky dog!
And look here, you, don't you turn up your nose at the other freedmen, his fellows. They're very warm men. You see the one lying last on the last couch yonder?  He’s worth his eight hundred thousand any of these days. A self-made man; once upon a time he carried wood on his own two shoulders. They do say,-- I don't know how true it may be, but I’ve been told so,-- he snatched an incubus’ hat, [56b] and so discovered a treasure. I grudge no man’s good fortune, whatever a god has seen good to give him. He’ll still take a box on the ear for all that, and keeps a keen eye on the main chance. Only the other day he placarded his house with this bill: C. POMPEIUS DIOGENES IS PREPARED TO LET HIS GARRET FROM JULY FIRST, HAVING BOUGHT THE HOUSE HIMSELF. “But the other man yonder, occupying a freedman's place, what of him? Was he originally very well to do?” “I have not a word to say against him. He was owner once of a cool million, but he came to sad grief. I don’t suppose he has a hair on his head unmortgaged. Not that it was any fault of his; there never was a better man, but his rascally freedmen swindled him out of everything. Let me tell you, when the hospitable pot stops boiling, and fortune has once taken the turn, friends soon make themselves scarce.” “What was the honorable calling he followed, that you see him brought to this?” “He was an undertaker. He used to dine like a king,-- boars in pastry, cakes of every sort and game galore, cooks and pastry-cooks without end. More wine was spilt under his table than another man has in his cellar. A dream-- not a life for a mere mortal man! Even when his affairs were getting shaky, for fear his creditors might think he was in difficulties, he posted this notice of sale: C. JULIUS PROCULUS WILL PUT UP TO AUCTION AN ASSORTMENT OF HIS SUPERFLUOUS FURNITURE.
[ch. 39] This agreeable gossip was here interrupted by Trimalchio; for the second course had now been removed, and the company being merry with wine began to engage in general conversation. Our host then, lying back on his elbow and addressing the company, said, “I hope you will all do justice to this wine; you must make the fish swim again. Come, come, do you suppose I was going to rest content with the dinner you saw boxed up under the cover of the tray just now? ‘Is Ulysses no better known?’  Well, well! Even at table we mustn't forget our scholarship. Peace to my worthy patron’s bones, who was pleased to make me a man amongst men. For truly there is nothing can be set before me that will startle me by its novelty. For instance the meaning of that tray just now can be easily enough explained. This heaven in which dwell the twelve gods  resolves itself into twelve different configurations, and presently becomes the Ram. So whosoever is born under this sign has many flocks and herds and much wool, a hard head into the bargain, a shameless brow and a sharp horn. Most of your schoolmen and pettifoggers are born under this sign.”
We recommended the learned expounder's graceful erudition, and he went on to add: “Next the whole sky becomes Bull; then are born obstinate fellows and cow-herders and such as think of nothing but filling their own bellies. Under the Twins are born horses in a pair, oxen in a yoke, men blessed with a sturdy brace of testicles, all who manage to keep in with both sides. I was born under the Crab myself. Wherefore I stand on many feet, and have many possessions both by sea and land; for the Crab is equally adapted to either element. And this is why I never put anything on that sign, so as not to eclipse my horoscope. Under the Lion are born great eaters and wasters, and all who love to domineer; under the Virgin, women and runaways and jailbirds; under the Scales, butchers and perfumers and all retail traders; under the Scorpion, poisoners and cutthroats; under the Archer, squint-eyed folks, who look at the greens and whip off with the bacon; under Capricorn, the “horny-handed sons of toil”; under Aquarius or the Waterman, innkeepers and pumpkin-heads; under Pisces, or the Fishes, fine cooks and fine talkers. Thus the world goes round like a mill, and is forever at some mischief, whether making men or marring them. But about the sod of turf you see in the middle, and the honeycomb on top of it, I have a good reason to show too. Our mother Earth is in the middle, round-about like an egg, and has all good things in her inside, like a honey-comb!”
[ch. 40] “Clever! clever!” We cry in chorus and with hands uplifted to the ceiling, swear Hipparchus and Aratus  were not to be named in the same breath with him. This lasted till fresh servants entered and spread carpets before the couches, embroidered with pictures of fowling nets, prickers with their hunting spears, and sporting gear of all kinds. We were still at a loss what to expect when a tremendous shout was raised outside the doors, and lo and behold! A pack of Laconian dogs came careering round and round the very table. These were soon followed by a huge tray, on which lay a wild boar of the largest size, with a cap on its head, while from the tusks hung two little baskets of woven palm leaves, one full of Syrian dates, the other of Theban. Round it were little piglets of baked sweetmeat, as if at suck, to show it was a sow we had before us; and these were gifts to be taken home with them by the guests. To carve the dish however, it was not this time our friend Cut who appeared, the same who had dismembered the capons, but a great bearded fellow, wearing leggings and a shaggy jerkin. Drawing his hunting knife, he made a furious lunge and gashed open the boar's flank, from which there flew out a number of fieldfares. Fowlers stood ready with their rods and immediately caught the birds as they fluttered about the table. Then Trimalchio directed each guest to be given his bird, and this done, added “Look what elegant acorns this wildwood pig fed on.” Instantly slaves ran to the baskets that were suspended from the animal's tusks and divided the two kinds of dates in equal proportions among the diners.
[ch. 41] Meantime, sitting as I did a little apart, I was led into a thousand conjectures to account for the boar's being brought in with a cap on. So after exhausting all sorts of absurd guesses, I resolved to ask my former “philosopher and friend” to explain the difficulty that tormented me so. “Why!” said he, “your own servant could tell you that much. Riddle? it’s as plain as daylight. The boar was presented with his freedom at yesterday’s dinner; he appeared at the end of the meal and the company gave him his congé. Therefore today he comes back to table as a freedman.”  I cursed my own stupidity, and asked no more questions, for fear of their thinking I had never dined with good company before.
We were still conversing, when a pretty boy entered, his head wreathed with vine-leaves and ivy, announcing himself now as Bromius, then as Lyaeus and Euhius.  He proceeded to hand round grapes in a small basket, and recited in the shrillest of voices some verses of his master's composition. Trimalchio turned round at the sound, and, “Dionysus,” said he, “be free (Liber)!” The lad snatched the freedman’s cap from the boar’s head and stuck it on his own. Then Trimalchio went on again, “Well! you'll not deny,” he cried, “I have a Father Liber (a freeborn father) of my own.”  We praised Trimalchio's joke, and heartily kissed the fortunate lad, as he went round to receive our congratulations.
At the end of this course Trimalchio left the table to relieve himself, and so finding ourselves free from the constraint of his overbearing presence, we began to indulge in a little friendly conversation. Accordingly Dama began first, after calling for a cup of wine. “A day! what is a day?” he exclaimed, “before you can turn round, it’s night again! So really you can’t do better than go straight from bed to board. Fine cold weather we’ve been having; why! even my bath has hardly warmed me. But truly hot liquor is a good clothier. I’ve been drinking cups-full, and I'm downright fuddled. The wine has got into my head.”
[ch. 41] Seleucus then struck into the talk: "I don't bathe every day," he said; "your systematic bather's a mere fuller.  Water's got teeth, and melts the heart away, a little every day; but there! when I've fortified my belly with a cup of mulled wine, I say 'Go hang!' to the cold. Indeed I couldn't bathe today, for I've been to a funeral.  A fine fellow he was too, good old Chrysanthus, but he's given up the ghost now. He was calling me just this moment, only just this moment; I could fancy myself talking to him now. Alas! alas! what are we but blown bladders on two legs? We're not worth as much as flies; they are some use, but we're no better than bubbles. He wasn't careful enough in his diet, you say? I tell you, for five whole days not one drop of water, or one crumb of bread passed his lips. Nevertheless he has joined the majority. The doctors killed him,-- or rather his day was come; the very best of doctors is only a satisfaction to the mind. Anyhow he was handsomely buried, on his own best bed, with good blankets. The wailing was first class,-- he did a trifle of manumission before he died;  though no doubt his wife's tears were a bit forced. A pity he always treated her so well. But woman! woman's of the kite kind. No man ought ever to do 'em a good turn; just as well pitch it in the well at once. Old love's an eating sore!"
[ch. 43] He was getting tiresome, and Phileros broke in: "Let's talk of living. He's got his deserts, whatever they were; he lived well and died well, what has he to complain about? He started with next to nothing, and was ready to the last to pick a farthing out of a dunghill with his teeth. So he grew and grew, like a honeycomb. Upon my word I believe he left a round hundred million behind him, and all in ready money. But I'll tell you the actual facts, for I'm the soul of truth, as they say. He had a rough tongue, and a ready one, and was quarrelsomeness personified. Now his brother was a fine fellow and a true friend, with a free hand and keeping a liberal table. Just at the beginning he had a bad bird to pluck, but the very first vintage set him on his legs, for he sold his wine at his own price. But the thing that chiefly made him lift up his head in the world was getting an inheritance, out of which he managed to prig a good deal more than was really left him. And that log Chrysanthus, falling out with his brother, has positively left all his property to I don't know what scum of the earth. He goes too far, say I, who goes outside his own kith and kin. But he had a lot of overwise interfering servants, who proved his ruin. A man will never do well, who believes all he's told too readily, especially a man in business. Yet it's fair to say he did well enough all his life, getting what was never meant for him. Evidently one of Fortune's favorites, in whose hands lead turns to gold. But that's simple enough, when everything runs on wheels exactly as you want it to. How old, think you, was he when he died? Seventy and over. But he was as tough as horn; he carried his age well, and he was still as black as a crow. I knew him when he was a pretty loose fish, and he was lecherous to the last. Upon my soul I don't believe he left a living thing in his house alone, down to the dog. A great lover of lads, indeed a man of universal talents and tastes. Not that I blame him; this was all he got out of life."
[ch. 44] So much for Phileros; then Ganymede began: "Yes! you talk away," he said, "about things that concern neither heaven nor earth, but no one ever thinks of the pinch of famine that's upon us. I swear I couldn't come across a mouthful of bread this day. And how the drought holds! Starvation's been the word for a whole twelvemonth now. Bad cess to the aediles,  who are in collusion with the bakers-- 'you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours.' And so poor folks suffer; for your rich fellows' jawbones keep feast-day all the year round. Ah! if only we had those lion-hearted chaps I found here, when first I came from Asia. That was something like living. 'Twas like the midlands of Sicily  for plenty, and they used to batter those vampires about so that Jupiter  positively hated them. Why! I remember Safinius; he used to live at the Old Arch when I was a boy. It was a peppercorn, I tell you, not a man. Wherever he went, he made the ground smoke under him. An upright, downright honest man, and a trusty friend, one you might confidently play mora  with in the dark. But in court, how he pounded 'em down, one and all; he didn't talk in figures of speech, not he, but straight out. Then when he pleaded in the Forum, his voice would swell out like a trumpet, though he never sweated or spat. I believe myself he had a smack of Asiatic blood in him. And how civil he was to return our bows and give each man his name, just as if he'd been one of ourselves. So in those days provisions were dirt cheap. A halfpenny loaf,-- when you'd bought it, you couldn't have finished it, with another man to help you! Now,-- I've seen a bullock's eye bigger.
Alas! alas! Things get worse and worse every day, and this city of ours is growing like a cow's tail, backwards. Why ever have we an aedile not worth three figs, who thinks more of a halfpenny than of all our lives? So he sits at home and rubs his hands, making more coin in a day than another man's whole fortune comes to. I know one transaction brought him in a thousand gold denarii. Why! if we weren't geldings, he wouldn't be so pleased with himself long. Nowadays the folks are lions at home, and foxes abroad. As for me, I've eaten up my duds, and if the scarcity goes on, I shall sell my bits of houses. What is to become of us, if neither gods nor men take pity on this unhappy city? As I hope for happiness, I think it's all the gods' doing. For nobody any more believes heaven to be heaven, nobody keeps fast, nobody cares one straw for Jupiter, but all men shut their eyes and count up their own belongings. In former days the long-robed matrons went barefoot, with unbound hair and a pure heart, up the hill to pray Jupiter for rain; and instantly it started raining bucketfuls,-- then or never,-- and they all came back looking like drowned rats. So the gods come stealthy-footed to our destruction, because we have no piety or reverence. The fields lie idle, and--
[ch. 45] "I beseech you," cried Echion, the old-clothes-man, at this point, "I beseech you, better words! Luck's for ever changing, as the chawbacon said, when he lost his brindled hog. If not today, then tomorrow; that's the way the world wags. My word! you couldn't name a better countryside, if only the inhabitants were to match. True, we are in low water for the moment, but we're not the only ones. We must not be so over particular, the same heaven is over us all. If you lived elsewhere, you'd say pigs ran about here ready roasted. And I tell you, we're going to have a grand show in three days from now at the festival-- none of your common gangs of gladiators, but most of the chaps freedmen. Our good Titus has a heart of gold and a hot head; 'twill be do or die, and no quarter. I'm in his service, he is no shirker! He'll have the best of sharp swords and no backing out; bloody butcher's meat in the middle, for the amphitheater to feast their eyes on. And he's got the wherewithal; he was left thirty million, his father came to a bad end. Suppose he does spend four hundred thousand or so, his property won't feel it, and his name will live forever. He has already got together a lot of ponies and a female chariot fighter, and Glyco's factor [agent], who was caught diverting his mistress. You'll see what a row the people will have between the jealous husbands and the happy lovers. Anyhow Glyco, who's not worth two pence, condemned his factor to the beasts,-- which was simply betraying his own dishonor. How was the servant to blame, who was forced to do what he did? It was she, the pisspot, deserved tossing by the bull far more than he. But there, if a man can't get at the donkey's back, he must thrash the donkey's pack. And how could Glyco ever suppose Hermogenes' girl should come to any good. He could cut a kite's claws flying; a snake doesn't father a rope. Glyco! Glyco! you've paid your price; as long as you live, you're a marked man,-- a brand Hell only can obliterate. A man's mistakes always come home to roost.
Why! I can nose out now what a feast Mammaea is going to give us, two gold denarii each for me and mine. If he does so, I only hope he'll show no favor whatever to Norbanus. You may rest assured he will clap on all sail. And in good sooth what has the other ever done for us? He gave a show of twopenny halfpenny gladiators, such a rickety lot,-- blow on them, they'd have fallen flat; and I've seen better bestiaries. He killed his mounted men by torchlight, you might have taken them for dunghill cocks. One was mule-footed, another bandy-legged, while the third, put up to replace a dead man, was a deadhead himself, for he was hamstrung before beginning. The only one to show any spunk was a Thracian,  and he only fought when we tarred him on. In the end they all got a sound thrashing; in fact the crowd had cried 'Trice up!' for every one of them, they were obviously such arrant runaways. 'Anyhow I gave you a show,' said he. 'And I applauded,' said I; 'reckon it up, and I gave you more than I got. One good turn deserves another.'”
[ch. 46] "You look, Agamemnon, as if you were saying to yourself, 'Whatever is that bore driving at?' I talk, because you fellows who can talk, won't talk. You're not of our stuff and so you laugh at poor men's conversation. You're a monument of learning, we all know. But there, let me persuade you one day to come down into the country and see our little place. We'll find something to eat, a pullet and a few eggs; it will be grand, even though the bad weather this year has turned everything upside down. Anyway we shall find enough to fill our bellies. And there's a future pupil growing up for you, my little lad at home. He can repeat four pieces already; if he lives, you will have a little servant at your beck and call. If he has a spare moment, he never lifts his head from his slate. He's a bright lad with good stuff in him, though he is so gone on birds. I've killed three linnets of his, and told him a weasel ate 'em. But he has found other hobbies, and he's devoted to painting. Why! He is already showing his heels to the Greek, and beginning to take capitally to his Latin,  though his master is too easy-going and too restless; he knows his work well enough, but won't take proper pains. Then there's another, not a learned man but a very ingenious one, who teaches more than he knows. Accordingly he comes to the house on high days and holidays, and whatever you give him, he looks pleased. So I've just bought the lad some law books, for I want him to have a smack of law for home use. There's bread and butter in that. For as to literature, he has been tarred enough already with that brush. If he kicks, I've made up my mind to teach him a trade,-- a barber, or an auctioneer, or best of all a lawyer,-- which nothing but Hell can rob him of. So I impress on him every day. 'Believe me, my first-born, whatever you learn, you learn for your good. Look at Phileros the advocate;  if he hadn't studied, he would be starving today. The other day, just the other day, he was carting things round on his shoulders, now he is a match for Norbanus himself. Learning's a treasure, and a trade never starves.'"
Relief found in Neumagen near Trier, a teacher with three discipuli. Around 180–185 CE. Photo by Shakko Kitsune of casting in Pushkin museum, Moscow. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
[ch. 47] Such were the brilliant remarks that were flashing round the board, when Trimalchio re-entered, and after wiping his brow and scenting his hands, "Pardon me, my friends," he said after a brief pause, "but for several days I have been costive. My physicians were nonplused. However, pomegranate rind and an infusion of fir-wood in vinegar has done me good. And now I trust my belly will be better behaved. At times I have such a rumbling about my stomach, you'd think I had a bull bellowing inside me! So if any of you want to relieve yourselves, there's no necessity to be ashamed about it. None of us is born solid. I don't know any torment so bad as holding it in. It's the one thing Jove himself cannot stop. What are you laughing at, Fortunata, you who so often keep me awake o' nights yourself? I never hinder any man at my table from easing himself, and indeed the doctors forbid our balking nature. Even if something more presses, everything's ready outside,-- water, close-stools, and the other little matters needful. Take my word for it, the vapors rise to the brain and may cause a fluxion of the whole constitution. I know many a man that's died of it, because he was too shy to speak out."
We thank our host for his generous indulgence, taking our wine in little sips the while to keep down our laughter. But little we thought we had still another hill to climb, as the saying is, and were only half through the elaborations of the meal. For when the tables had been cleared with a flourish of music, three white hogs were brought in, hung with little bells and muzzled. One, so the nomenclator informed us, was a two-year-old, another three, and the third six. For my part, I thought they were learned pigs, come in to perform some of those marvelous tricks you see in circuses. But Trimalchio put an end to my surmises by saying, "Which of the three will you have dressed for supper right away? Farmyard cocks and pheasants are for country folks; my cooks are used to serving up calves boiled whole." So saying, he immediately ordered the cook to be summoned, and without waiting for our choice, directed the six-year-old to be killed. Then speaking loud and clear, he asked the man, "What decuria do you belong to?" "To the fortieth," he replied.  "Bought," he went on, "or born in my house?" "Neither;" returned the cook, "I was left you by Pansa's will." "Then mind you serve the dish carefully dressed; else I shall order you to be degraded into the decuria of the outdoor slaves." And the cook, thus cogently admonished, then withdrew with his charge into the kitchen.
[ch. 48] But Trimalchio, relaxing his stern aspect, now turned to us and said "If you don't like the wine, I'll have it changed; otherwise please prove its quality by your drinking. Thanks to the gods' goodness, I never buy it; but now I have everything that smacks good growing on a suburban estate of mine. I've not seen it yet, but they tell me it's down Terracina and Tarentum way. I am thinking at the moment of making Sicily one of my little properties, that when I've a mind to visit Africa, I may sail along my own boundaries to get there. "But tell me, Agamemnon, what question formed the subject of your declamation today? Though I don't plead myself, I've studied letters for domestic use. Don't imagine I have despised scholarship; why! I have two libraries, one Greek, the other Latin. If you love me, then, let me know what your discourse was."
Agamemnon had just begun, "A poor man and a rich were at feud . . ." when Trimalchio struck in with the question, "What is a poor man!" "Oh, capital!" cried Agamemnon; and went on to develop some dialectical problem or another. Trimalchio summed up without an instant's hesitation as follows, "If this is so, there's no question about it; if it's not so, why! there's an end of the matter." Whilst we were still acclaiming these and similar remarks with fulsome praise, he resumed, "Pray, my dearest Agamemnon, do you recollect by any chance the twelve labors of Hercules,  or the story of Ulysses, how the Cyclops twisted his thumb out of joint, after he was turned into a pig. I used to read these tales in Homer when I was a lad.  Then the Sibyl! I saw her at Cumae with my own eyes hanging in a jar; and when the boys cried to her, 'Sibyl, what would you?' she'd answer, 'I would die,'-- both of 'em speaking Greek." 
[ch. 49] He was still in the middle of this nonsense when a tray supporting an enormous hog was set on the table. One and all we expressed our admiration at the expedition shown, and swore a mere ordinary fowl could not have been cooked in the time, the more so as the hog appeared to be a much larger animal than the wild boar just before. Presently Trimalchio, staring harder and harder, exclaimed, "What! what! isn't he gutted? No! by heaven! he's not. Call the cook in!"
The cook came and stood by the table, looking sadly crestfallen and saying he had clean forgotten. "What! forgotten!" cried Trimalchio; "to hear him, you would suppose he'd just omitted a pinch of pepper or a bit of cumin. Strip him!"
Instantly the cook was stripped, and standing between two tormentors, the picture of misery. But we all began to intercede for him, saying, "Accidents will happen; do forgive him this once. If ever he does it again, not one of us will say a word in his favor." For my own part I felt mercilessly indignant, and could not hold myself, but bending over to Agamemnon's ear, I whispered, "Evidently he must be a villainous bad servant. To think of anybody forgetting to bowel a hog; by Gad! I would not let the fellow off, if he'd shown such carelessness about a fish."
Not so Trimalchio, for with a smile breaking over his face, "Well! well!" said he, "as you have such a bad memory, bowel him now, where we can all see."
Thereupon the cook resumed his tunic, seized his knife and with a trembling hand slashed open the animal's belly. In a moment, the apertures widening under the weight behind, out tumbled a lot of sausages and black-puddings.
[ch. 50] At this all the servants applauded like one man, and chorused, "Gaius forever!" Moreover the cook was gratified with a goblet of wine and a silver wreath, and received a drinking cup on a salver of Corinthian metal. This Agamemnon scanned with some attention, and Trimalchio observed, "I am the only man possessing the genuine Corinthian plate."
I fully expected him to match his usual effrontery by declaring he had himself imported the articles from Corinth; but he had a better account to give of the matter. "You may wonder perhaps," he said, "why I alone have the true Corinthian. The fact is, the smith I buy them from is called Corinth, and what can be more Corinthian than to have Corinth at one's orders? But you must not set me down for a dunce; I know perfectly well how Corinthian plate first originated. On the capture of Troy, Hannibal,  an astute fellow and a consummate knave, collected together all the statues of bronze and gold and silver into one great heap, and firing the pile, melted down the different metals into one alloy. This mass of metal the smiths utilized to make into platters and dishes and statuettes. Such was the origin of Corinthian metal, neither one thing nor the other, but an amalgam of all.
[ch. 51] "But you must allow me to say this, I prefer glass ones myself; they are quite free from smell at any rate. And if they didn't break, I would rather have them than gold itself; but they've got cheap and common now. However there was an artificer once who made a glass goblet that would not break. So he was admitted to Caesar's presence to offer him his invention; then,on receiving the cup back from Caesar's hands, he dashed it down on the floor. Who so startled as Caesar? but the man quietly picked up the goblet again, which was dented as a vessel of bronze might be. Then taking a little hammer from his pocket, he easily and neatly knocked the goblet into shape again. This done, the fellow thought he was as good as in heaven already, especially when Caesar said to him, 'Does anybody else besides yourself understand the manufacture of this glass?' But lo! on his replying in the negative, Caesar ordered him to be beheaded, because if once the secret became known, we should think no more of gold than of so much dirt.
[ch. 52] "I'm quite a connoisseur in plate. I've got cups as big as waterpots, a hundred of them more or less, representing how Cassandra slew her sons, and there lie the lads dead, as natural as life! I've got a thousand bowls Mummius bequeathed to my patron, on which Daedalus is shown shutting Niobe up in the Trojan horse.  Why! I've got the fights of Hermeros and Petraites on a series of cups all of massive metal.  I wouldn't sell my savvy in these things for any money."
A Roman silver plate with a Nereid, perhaps second to fourth century CE, found in Azerbaijan in October, 1894. Hermitage Museum, Russia. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
In the middle of these remarks a slave dropped a cup. Trimalchio looked at him and said, "Go at once and kill yourself; you are a careless fellow." The slave immediately dropped his lip and began to beg for mercy. "Why worry me," cried Trimalchio, "as if I were being harsh upon you. I merely urge you to secure yourself from being so heedless again." At length, on our entreaty, he pardoned the man. The latter, to celebrate the event, began running round and round the table, crying, "Out water, in wine!" We were all ready to take the merry rascal's kind suggestion, and particularly Agamemnon, who knew very well how to earn another invitation. But Trimalchio under the stimulus of our flattery drank away more gayly than ever, and being close on the verge of intoxication, "Won't any of you," he cried, "ask my wife Fortunata to dance? Believe me, there's no one foots the cancan better." Then putting up his two hands himself above his brow, he began imitating Syrus the comedian, the whole household singing out, "Bravo! Oh, bravissimo!" in chorus; and he would have made a public exhibition of himself, had not Fortunata whispered in his ear and told him, I suppose, that such buffooneries were beneath his dignity. But nothing could well be more uncertain than his humor; one moment he would listen respectfully to Fortunata, the next hark back to his natural propensities.
[ch. 53] However his dancing fit was cut short by the entrance of the historiographer, who read out solemnly, as if he were reciting the public records: "Seventh of Kalends of July (June 25th): On the manor of Cumae, Trimalchio's property, were born this day thirty boys, forty girls; were carried from threshing-floor to granary 500,000 bushels of wheat; were put to the yoke 500 oxen. Same day: Mithridates, a slave, was crucified for blaspheming our master Gaius' tutelary genius. 
Same day: returned to treasury ten million sesterces, no investment being forthcoming for the sum. Same day: a fire occurred in Pompey's garden, originating at the house of Nasta, the Bailiff."
"Eh?" interrupted Trimalchio, "when were Pompey's gardens  bought for me?"
"Last year," answer the historiographer; "therefore they have not been brought into account yet."
Trimalchio blazed up at this and shouted, "Any estates bought in my name, if I hear nothing of them within six months, I forbid their being carried to my account at all."
Next were read his aediles' edicts  and foresters' wills, in which Trimalchio was excluded from inheritance, but mentioned with the highest encomiums. Then the names of his bailiffs were recited; how the chief inspector had repudiated his mistress, a freedwoman, having detected her in an intrigue with the bath superintendent; how the chamberlain had been removed to Baiae:  the steward convicted of embezzlement; and a dispute between the grooms of the chamber adjudicated upon.
But now the acrobats entered at last. A most tiresome, dull fellow stood supporting a ladder, up the rungs of which he ordered a lad to climb and dance and sing on the top, and then leap down through blazing hoops holding a wine-jar in his teeth. Trimalchio was the only person present who admired this performance, saying it was a hard life truly. There were but two things, he went on, in all the world he really enjoyed seeing-- acrobats and horn-blowers; all other shows were mere trash. "Yes! I bought a company of comedians too," he said, "but I insisted on their playing Atellanes, and I ordered my conductor to play Latin airs and Latin airs only." 
[ch. 54] In the middle of these fine remarks of the great Gaius, the boy suddenly tumbled down on top of our host. The domestics all raised a shriek, and the guests as well, not for any love they bore the disgusting creature, whose neck they would have gladly seen broken, but for fear of a bad end to the feast and the necessity of lamenting the man's death. Trimalchio himself gave a deep groan and bent over one arm, as if it were injured. His physicians flocked round him, and amongst the foremost Fortunata with streaming hair and a cup in her hand, solemnly swearing she was a most miserable, unhappy woman. For his part, the boy who had fallen was already creeping round at our knees, beseeching us to intercede for him.
I was tormented with the idea that these prayers were only intended to lead up by some ridiculous turn to another theatrical denouement. For the cook who had forgotten to bowel the hog still stuck in my memory. So I began to carry my eyes all about the room, to see if the wall would not open to admit some stage-machine or other, especially after observing how a slave was thrashed, who had bandaged his master's bruised arm with white instead of purple wool. Nor was I far out in my suspicions, for in lieu of punishment being inflicted, Trimalchio now ruled that the lad must be made free, that none might be able to say so noble a gentleman had been injured by a slave.
[ch. 55] We acclaim the generous act, and indulge in a string of platitudes on the precariousness of human affairs. "Well, then!" interposed Trimalchio, "an accident like this must not be allowed to pass without an impromptu," and instantly calling for his tablets,  and without much racking of brains, he read out the following lines:
When least we think, things go astray,
Dame Fortune o'er our life holds sway;
Then drink, make merry, whilst ye may!
This epigram led the way to a discussion of poets and poetry, and for some time the palm of song was awarded to Mopsus the Thracian,  until Trimalchio remarked to Agamemnon, "Pray, master, what do you consider the difference to be between Cicero and Publilius?  For my own part, I consider the former the more eloquent author, the latter the more genteel. What for instance can be better put than this:
It is arrant luxury undoes the state;
To please your palate pampered peacocks die,
That flaunt their plumed Assyrian gold abroad
For you Numidian fowl and capon fat.
Even the kindly stork is sacrificed,
Our graceful, noisy, long-legged friend,
Fearful of winter's cold and harbinger of Spring,
And finds the cruel cooking-pot its nest.
Why are the Indian pearls so dear to you,--
If not to deck with sea-sought gems the wife
That lifts a wanton leg adulterously?
Why love you so the emerald's greeny gleam,
And flashing fires of Punic carbuncles?
Honor and virtue are the truest gems.
Is it right the bride should wear the woven wind,
And stand exposed in garments thin as air?
[ch. 56] "Now what do you hold to be the most difficult calling," he went on, "after literature? I think the doctor's and the money-changer's; the doctor, because he's got to know what chaps have in their insides, and when the fever's coming,-- though truly I hate 'em like fury, for they're for ever ordering me duck-broth; the money-changer, who detects the bronze underneath the surface plating of silver. Of beasts the most hard-working are oxen and sheep; to the former we owe the bread we eat, while 'tis the latter make us so fine with their wool. What a brutal shame it is when a man eats mutton and wears a woolen coat! Now bees,-- I do think they are the god's own creatures, for they vomit honey, though some say they bring it down from Jupiter. And that's why they sting, for you'll never find sweet without sour."
He was still cutting out the philosophers in this fashion, when lottery tickets were passed round in a cup, and a slave, whose special duty this was, read out the presents to be distributed in the tombola:
"Humbug Silver; a gammon of bacon was shown, with cruets of that metal standing on it. A Neck-Pillow; and a neck of mutton was produced. Forbidden Fruits and Contumely; pommeloes were brought in, and a punt-pole with an apple. Leeks and Peaches; the drawer received a whip and a knife. Dress Clothes and Morning Coat; a piece of meat and a memorandum book. Canal and Foot Measure; a hare and a slipper. Lamprey and Letter; a mouse and a frog tied together, and a bundle of beetroot." We laughed loud and long; and there were a hundred and fifty other conceits of the same sort that have escaped my memory.
[ch. 57] But Ascyltos, lost to all self-control, threw his arms up in the air, and turning the whole proceedings into ridicule, laughed till the tears ran down his cheeks. At this once of the freedmen among the guests, the same who occupied the place next above me, lost his temper and shouted:
"What are you laughing at, muttonhead? Isn't my master's elegant hospitality to your taste? You're a mighty fine gentleman, I suppose, and used to better entertainment. So help me the guardian spirits of this house, but I would have made him baa to some purpose, had I been next him. A pretty sprig indeed, to laugh at other people! A vagabond from who knows where, a night-raker, that's not worth his own piddle! Just let me piss round him, and he would not know how to save his life! By the powers, I'm not as a rule quick to take offense, but there! worms are bred in soft flesh. He's laughing; what's he got to laugh at? Did his father buy the brat for money? You're a Roman equestrian: and I'm a king's son.  'Why did you serve as a slave then?' Why! because I chose to, and thought it better to be a Roman citizen than a tributary king. And henceforth I hope to live a life beyond the reach of any one's ridicule. I am a man now among men; I can walk about with my nose in the air. I owe nobody a brass farthing; I've never made composition; no one ever stopped me in the forum with a 'Pay me what you owe!' I've bought some bits of land, put by a trifle of tin; I keep twenty folks in victuals, to say nothing of the dog; I've purchased my bedfellow's freedom, that no man should wipe his hands on her bosom; I paid a thousand denarii to redeem her; I was made a sevir, free gratis for nothing; I trust I may die and have no cause to blush in my grave.
"But you, are you so busy you can't so much as look behind you? You can spy a louse on a neighbor's back, and never see the great tick on your own. You're the only man to find us ridiculous; there's your master and your elder, he likes us well enough, I warrant. You! with your mammy's milk scarce dry on your lips, you can't say boo! to a goose; you crock, you limp scrap of soaked leather, you may be supple, but you're no good. Are you richer than other folk? Then dine twice over, and sup twice! For myself I value my credit far above millions. Did any man ever dun me twice? I served forty years, but nobody knows whether I was slave or free. I was a long-haired lad when first I came to this town; the basilica was not built yet. But I took pains to please my master, a great, grand gentleman and a dignified, whose nail-parings were worth more than your whole body. And I had enemies in the house, let me tell you, quite ready to trip me up on occasion; but-- thanks to his kind nature-- I swam the rapids. That's the real struggle; for to be born a gentleman is as easy as 'Come here.' Whatever are you gaping at now, like a buck-goat in a field of bitter vetch?"
[ch 58] At this harangue Giton, who was standing at my feet, could no longer contain himself, but burst into a most indecorous peal of merriment. When Ascyltos' adversary noticed the fact, he turned his abuse upon the lad, screaming, "You're laughing too, are you, you curled onion? Ho! For the Saturnalia, is it December, pray?  When did you stump up your twentieth?  What's he at now, the crow's meat gallows-bird?  I'll take care the gods’ anger falls on you, you and your master who does not keep you in better order. As I hope to live by bread, I only keep my hands off you out of respect for my fellow freedmen, or else would I have paid you off this instant minute. We're right enough, but your folks are good for nothing, who don't keep you to heel. Truly, like master, like man. I can scarce hold myself, and I'm not a hot-headed man naturally; but if I once begin, I don't care two pence for my own mother. All right, I shall come across you yet in the open street, you rat, you mushroom, you! I'll never stir up nor down, if I don't drive your master into a wretched hole, and show you what's what, though you call upon Olympian Jove himself to help you! I'll be the ruin of your rubbishy ringlets and your twopenny master into the bargain. All right, see if I don't get my teeth into you; either I don't know myself, or you shall laugh on the wrong side of your face, even if you have a beard of gold. I'll see that Minerva's down on you, and the man that first trained you to be what you are. I never learned Geometry and Criticism and such like nonsensical screeds, but I do understand the lapidaries' marks, and I can subdivide to the hundredth part when it comes to questions of mass, and weight and mintage. Well and good! if you have a mind, we'll have a little wager, you and I; come now, here I clap down the tin. You'll soon see your father wasted his money on you, though you do know Rhetoric. Now: 'Which of us?-- I come long, I come wide: now guess me.'"
"I'll tell you which of us runs, yet never stirs from the spot; which of us grows, and gets less all the while.  How you skip and fidget and fuss, like a mouse in a chamber-pot! So either hold your tongue altogether, or don't attack a better man than yourself, who hardly knows of your existence,-- unless perhaps you think I'm troubled by your yellow ringlets, that you stole from your doxy. God helps the man that helps himself! Let's go to the forum to borrow money; you'll soon see this bit of iron commands some credit. Aha! a fine sight, a fox in a sweat! As I hope to thrive and make such a good end that the people will all be swearing at my death, hang me if I don't chivvy you up hill and down dale till you drop! A fine sight too, the fellow that taught you so,-- a muff I call him, not a master! We learned something else in my time; the master used to say, 'Are your things safe? go straight home; don't stop staring about, and don't be impertinent to your elders.' Now it's all trash; they turn out nobody worth two pence. That I am what I am, I owe to my own wits, and I thank God for it!"
[ch. 59] Ascyltos was just beginning to answer his abuse; but Trimalchio, charmed with his fellow-freedman's eloquence, stopped him, saying, "Come, come! leave your bickerings on one side. Better be good-natured; and do you Hermeros, spare the young man. His blood is up; so be reasonable. To yield is always to win in these matters. You were a young cockerel yourself once, and then cockadoodledoo you went, and never a grain of sense in you! So take my advice, let's start afresh and be jolly, while we enjoy the Homerists."
Immediately there filed in an armed band, and clashed spears on shields. Trimalchio himself sat in state on his cushion, and when the Homerists began a dialogue in Greek verse, as is their unmannerly manner, read out a Latin text in a clear, loud voice. Presently in an interval of silence, "You know," says he, "what the tale is they are giving us? Diomed and Ganymede were two brothers. Their sister was Helen of Troy. Agamemnon carried her off and palmed a doe on Diana in her stead. So Homer relates how the Trojans and Parentines fought each other. He got the best of it, it seems, and gave his daughter Iphigenia in marriage to Achilles. This drove Ajax mad, who will presently make it all plain to you."  No sooner had Trimalchio finished speaking than the Homerists raised a shout, and with the servants bustling in all directions, a boiled calf was borne in on a silver dish weighing two hundred pounds, and actually wearing a helmet. Then came Ajax, and rushing at it like a madman slashed it to bits with his naked sword, and making passes now up and down, collected the pieces on his point and so distributed the flesh among the astonished guests.
[ch. 60] We had little time however to admire these elegant surprises; for all of a sudden the ceiling began to rattle and the whole room trembled. I sprang up in consternation, fearing some tumbler was going to fall through the roof. The other guests were no less astounded, and gazed aloft, wondering what new prodigy they were to expect now from the skies. Then lo and behold! the ceiling opened and a huge hoop, evidently stripped from an enormous cask, was let down, all round which hung suspended golden wreaths and caskets containing precious ungents. These we were invited to take home with us as mementos.
Then looking again at the table, I saw that a tray of cakes had been placed on it, with a figure of Priapus,  the handiwork of the pastry-cook, standing in the middle, represented in the conventional way as carrying in his capacious bosom grapes and all sorts of fruits. Eagerly we reached out after these dainties, when instantly a new trick set us laughing afresh. For each cake and each fruit was full of saffron, which spurted out into our faces at the slightest touch, giving us an unpleasant drenching. So conceiving there must be something specially holy about this dish, scented as it was in this ceremonial fashion, we rose to our feet, crying, "All hail, Augustus, father of his country!"  But seeing the others still helping themselves to the dessert, even after this act of piety, we also filled our napkins,-- myself among the foremost, as I thought no gift good enough to pour into my beloved Giton's bosom. Meantime three slaves entered wearing short white jackets. Two of them set on the table images of the Lares  with amulets round their necks, while the third carried round a goblet of wine, crying, "The gods be favorable! The gods be favorable!" [....] Trimalchio told us they were named respectively Cerdo, Felicio and Lucrio.  Then came a faithful likeness of Trimalchio in marble, and as everybody else kissed it, we were ashamed not to do likewise.
[ch. 61] Then after we had all wished one another good health of mind and body, Trimalchio turned to Niceros and said, "You used to be better company; what makes you so dull and silent today? I beg you, if you wish to oblige me, tell us that adventure of yours." Niceros, delighted at his friend's affability, replied, "May I never make profit more, if I'm not ready to burst with satisfaction to see you so well disposed, Trimalchio. So ho! for a pleasant hour,-- though I very much fear these learned chaps will laugh at me. Well! let 'em. I'll say my say for all that! What does it hurt me, if a man does grin? Better they should laugh with me than at me." "These words the hero spake," and so began the following strange story: "When I was still a slave, we lived in a narrow street; the house is Gavilla's now. There, as the gods would have it, I fell in love with Terentius, the tavern-keeper's wife; you all knew Melissa from Tarentum, the prettiest of pretty wenches! Not that I courted her carnally or for venery, but more because she was such a good sort. Nothing I asked did she ever refuse; if she made a penny, I got a halfpenny; whatever I saved, I put in her purse, and she never cheated me. Well! her husband died when they were at a country house. So I moved heaven and earth to get to her; true friends, you know, are proved in adversity."
[ch. 62] “It so happened my master had gone to Capua, to attend to various trifles of business. So seizing the opportunity, I persuade our lodger to accompany me as far as the fifth milestone. He was a soldier, as bold as Hell. We got under way about first cockcrow, with the moon shining as bright as day. We arrive at the tombs; my man lingers behind among the gravestones, whilst I sit down singing, and start counting the gravestones. Presently I looked back for my comrade; he had stripped off all his clothes and laid them down by the wayside. My heart was in my mouth; and there I stood feeling like a dead man. Then he urinated all round the clothes, and in an instant changed into a wolf. Don’t imagine I’m joking; I would not tell a lie for the finest fortune ever man had. However, as I was telling you, directly he was turned into a wolf, he set up a howl, and away to the woods. At first I didn’t know where I was, but presently I went forward to gather up his clothes; but lo and behold! they were turned into stone. If ever a man was like to die of terror, I was that man! Still I drew my sword and let out at every shadow on the road till I arrived at my sweetheart’s house. I rushed in looking like a ghost, soul and body barely sticking together. The sweat was pouring down between my legs, my eyes were set, my wits gone almost past recovery. Melissa was astounded at my plight, wondering why ever I was abroad so late. ‘Had you come a little sooner,’ she said, ‘you might have given us a hand; a wolf broke into the farm and has slaughtered all the cattle, just as if a butcher had bled them. Still he didn’t altogether have the laugh on us, though he did escape; for one of the laborers ran him through the neck with a pike.’ After hearing this, I could not close an eye, but directly it was broad daylight, I started off for our good Gaius’s house, like a peddler whose pack’s been stolen; and coming to the spot where the clothes had been turned into stone, I found nothing whatever but a pool of blood. When eventually I got home, there lay my soldier a-bed like a great ox, while a surgeon was dressing his neck. I saw at once he was a werewolf and I could never afterwards eat bread with him, no! not if you’d killed me. Other people may think what they please; but as for me, if I’m telling you a lie, may your guardian spirits confound me!”
[ch. 63] We were all struck dumb with amazement, till Trimalchio broke the silence, saying, "Far be it from me to doubt your story; if you'll believe me, my hair stood on end, for I know Niceros is not the man to repeat idle fables; he's perfectly trustworthy and anything but a babbler. Now! I'll tell you a horrible tale myself, as much out of the common as an ass on the tiles!"
"I was still but a long-haired lad (for I led a Chian life  from a boy) when our master's minion died, -- a pearl, by heaven! a paragon of perfection at all points. Well! As his poor mother was mourning him, and several of us besides condoling with her, all of a sudden the witches set up their hullabaloo, for all the world like a hound in full cry after a hare. At that time we had a Cappadocian in the household, a tall fellow, and a high-spirited, and strong enough to lift a mad bull off its feet. This man gallantly drawing his sword, dashed out in front of the house door, first winding his cloak carefully round his left arm, and lunging out, as it might be there--no harm to what I touch-- ran a woman clean through. We heard a groan, but the actual witches (I'm very particular to tell the exact truth) we did not see. Coming in again, our champion threw himself down on a bed and his body was black and blue all over, just as if he had been scourged with whips, for it seems an evil hand had touched him. We barred the door and turned back afresh to our lamentations, but when his mother threw her arms round her boy and touched his dead body, she found nothing but a wisp of straw. It had neither heart, nor entrails, nor anything else; for the witches had whipped away the lad and left a changeling of straw in his place. Now I ask you, can you help after this believing there are wise women, and hags that fly by night.  But our tall bully, after what happened, never got back his color, in fact a few days afterward he died raving mad!"
[ch. 64] We listened with wonder and credulity in equal proportions, and kissing the table, besought the night-hags to keep in quarters, while we were returning home. And indeed by this time the lights seemed to burn double and I thought the whole room looked changed, when Trimalchio exclaimed, "I call on you, Plocamus; have you nothing to tell us? no diversion for us? And you used to be such good company, with your amusing dialogues and the comic songs you interspersed. Heigho! all gone, ye toothsome tidbits, all gone?" "Alas! my racing days are over, since I got the gout," replied the other; "but when I was a young man, I very nearly sang myself into a consumption. Dancing? dialogues? buffoonery? when did I ever find my match, eh?-- always excepting Appelles."  And clapping his hand to his mouth, he spit out some horrid stuff that sounded like whistling, and which he told us afterwards was Greek.
Moreover Trimalchio himself gave an imitation of a horn-blower, and presently turned to his minion whom he called Croesus.  This was a lad with sore eyes and filthy teeth: he was playing with a little black bitch, disgustingly fat, twisting a green scarf round her, putting half a loaf of bread on the couch, and on the animal's refusing to eat it, being already overfed, cramming it down her throat. This reminding Trimalchio of a duty omitted, he ordered Scylax  to be brought in, "the guardian of my house and home." Next moment a huge watchdog was led in on a large chain and took up a position in front of the table. Then Trimalchio tossed him a lump of white bread, observing, "There's no one in the house loves me better." The boy was enraged at hearing Scylax so lavishly praised, and setting his bitch down on the floor, cheered her on to attack the monster. Scylax, as was his nature to, filled the room with savage barking, and almost tore Croesus's little "Pearl" into bits. Nor did this fight end the trouble; but a chandelier was upset over the table, smashing all the crystal, and scalding some of the guests with oil.
Trimalchio, not to appear disconcerted at the damage done, kissed the lad and told him to get up on his back. The latter mounted a-cockhorse without a moment's hesitation, and repeatedly slapping him on the shoulders with his open hand, laughingly shouted, "Buck! buck! how many fingers do I hold up?" After thus submitting for a while to be made a horse of, Trimalchio ordered them to prepare a capacious bowl of wine for all the slaves sitting at our feet, but on this condition, he added, "If any one won't take his whack, souse it over his head! Business in the daytime, now for jollity!"
[ch. 65] After this display of good nature, there followed a course of delicacies, only to think of which, if you'll believe me, makes me feel ill. For instead of thrushes, a fatted hen was set before each guest and chaperoned goose-eggs which Trimalchio urged us most pressingly to partake of, assuring us the hens were boned.
At this moment a lictor knocked at the folding doors of the dining-hall, and dressed out in a white robe, a fresh boon-companion now entered, with a large train in attendance. As for me, I was so much impressed by all this state and ceremony, I thought it was the praetor.  So I made as if to rise and set my naked feet to the floor. Agamemnon laughed at my trepidation. "Sit still, you silly fellow," said he, "it's Habinnas the sevir, he's a marble-mason, and it seems makes capital good monuments." Reassured by what he said, I lay back again in my place, and watched Habinnas' entry with the greatest admiration. He was already tipsy, and leant for support on his wife's shoulder; wearing several heavy wreaths round his brow, which was so reeking with perfume it kept trickling into his eyes, he took the praetor's place, and at once called for wine and hot water.
Delighted at his joviality, Trimalchio himself called for a large goblet, and asked him how he had been entertained. "We had everything in the world," he replied, "except the pleasure of your company; for indeed my inclinations were here. But upon my word, it was very fine. Scissa was giving a very elegant memorial service in memory of her poor old slave, whom she had enfranchised after his death. And I suppose she will have a good round sum to pay to the tax-collectors, for they do tell me the dead man's fortune came to fifty thousand. I assure you it was all very pleasant, though we did have to pour half our liquor over his old bones."
[ch. 66] "But what did you have for dinner?" Trimalchio asked. "I'll tell you, if I can," was the answer, "but there, I have such a first-class memory, I often forget my own name. However, for first course we had a pig topped with a black-pudding and garnished with fritters and giblets, capitally dressed, and beetroot of course, and whole-meal brown bread, which I prefer myself to white; it makes muscle, and when I do my does, I don't have to yell. The next course was cold tarts, and to drink, excellent Spanish wine poured over warm honey. So I ate a fine helping of tart, and smeared myself well with the honey. As accessories, were chick-peas and lupines, nuts at discretion, and an apple apiece. But I took two, and look you! I've got them here tied up in a napkin; for if I don't take some present back for my little slave lad at home, there'll be a row. Right! my wife reminds me, we had also, on the sideboard a joint of bear's meat. Scintilla  took some inadvertently, and very nearly threw up her guts. I on the contrary ate nearly a pound of it; indeed it tasted quite like boar's flesh. And what I say is, if bear eats man, why should not man, with a far better reason, eat bear? To end up with, we had cream cheese flavored with wine jelly, snails, one apiece, chitterlings, scalloped liver and chaperoned eggs, turnips, mustard and (by your leave, Palamedes!)  a dish of mixed siftings; pickled olives also were handed round in a bowl, from which some of the party were mean enough to help themselves to three handfuls each; the ham we declined altogether.
[ch. 67] "But pray, Gaius, why is not Fortunata at table?" "Don't you know her better than that?" answered Trimalchio. "Not until she has counted the plate, and divided the leavings among the slaves, will she let so much as a drop of water pass her lips."
"Well!" returned Habinnas, "if she does not join us, I'm off for one," and made as though to get up, when at a signal from their master the whole houseful of slaves called out, four times over and more, "Fortunata! Fortunata!" At this she entered at last, her frock kilted up with a yellow girdle, so as to show a cherry-colored tunic underneath, and corded anklets and gold-embroidered slippers. Then wiping her hands on a handkerchief she wore at her neck, she placed herself on the same couch beside Habinnas' wife, Scintilla, kissing her while the other claps her hands, and exclaiming, "Have I really the pleasure of seeing you?"
Before long it came to Fortunata's taking off the bracelets from her great fat arms to show them to her admiring companion. Finally she even undid her anklets and her hairnet, which she assured Scintilla was of the very finest gold. Trimalchio observing this, ordered all the things to be brought to him. "You see this woman's fetters," he cried; "that's the way we poor devils are robbed! Six pound and a half, if it's an ounce; and yet I've got one myself of ten pound weight, all made out of Mercury's thousandths." Eventually to prove he was not telling a lie, he ordered a pair of scales to be brought, and had the articles carried round and the weight tested by each in turn. And Scintilla was just as bad, for she drew from her bosom a little gold casket she called her “lucky box.” From it she produced a pair of ear-pendants and handed them one after the other to Fortunata to admire, saying, "Thanks to my husband's goodness, no wife has finer."
A pair of golden Gallo-Roman earrings in the shape of a lion's head, Musée d'art et d'archéologie de Laon, photograph by Vassil, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
"Why truly!" remarked Habinnas, "you gave me no peace till I bought you the glass bean. I tell you straight, if I had a daughter, I should cut off her ears. If there were no women in the world, we should have everything in the world dirt cheap; as it is, we've just got to piss hot and drink cold."
Meanwhile the two women, though a trifle piqued, laughed good-humoredly together and interchanged some tipsy kisses, the one praising the thrifty management of the lady of the house, the other enlarging on the minions her husband kept and his unthrifty ways. While they were thus engaged in close confabulation, Habinnas got up stealthily and catching hold of
Fortunata's legs, upset her on the couch. "Ah! ah!" she screeched, as her tunic slipped up above her knees. Then falling on Scintilla's bosom, she hid in her handkerchief a face all afire with blushes.
[ch. 68] After a short interval Trimalchio next ordered the dessert to be served; hereupon the servants removed all the tables and brought in fresh ones, and strewed the floor with saffron and vermilion colored sawdust  and,-- a refinement I had not seen before,-- with specular stone reduced to powder. The moment the tables were changed, Trimalchio remarked, "I could really be quite content with what we have; for you see your 'second tables' before you. However, if there is anything spicy for dessert, let's have it in."
Meantime an Alexandrian lad, who served round the hot water, began imitating a nightingale, his master from time to time calling out, "Change!" Another form of entertainment followed. A slave who was sitting at Habinnas' feet, at his master's bidding, as I imagine, suddenly sang out in a loud voice: "Meantime Aeneas cuts his watery way. . . ." 
Nothing harsher ever shocked my ears, for to say nothing of the false inflections, now high now low, of his voice and his barbarous pronunciation, he kept sticking in tags from Atellane farces,  so that for the first time in my life I found Virgil intolerable. Yet no sooner did he pause for an instant than Habinnas loudly applauded the performance, adding, "The man has had no regular training; I merely sent him to see some mountebanks, and that's how he learned.
The result is, he has not his match, whether it's muleteers or mountebanks he wants to mimic. He's just desperate clever; he's cobbler, cook, confectioner, a compendium of all the talents. Still he has two faults, but for which he would be a perfect paragon: he is circumcised and he snores. For his squinting, I don't mind that; Venus has the same little defect. That's why his tongue is never still, because one eye is pretty much always on the alert. I gave three hundred denarii for him."
[ch. 69] Here Scintilla interrupted the speaker; "You take good care," she said, "not to mention all the scamp's qualifications. I'm sure he must be an arrant go-between; but I'll see to it that he has his brand before long."
Trimalchio only laughed and said, "I see he's a true Cappadocian; always looks out for number one. And, my word! I don't blame him; for indeed, once dead, this is a thing nobody can secure us. And you, Scintilla, don't be so jealous! Believe me, we understand you women. As I hope to be safe and sound, I used myself to poke her ladyship, so that even my master got suspicious; and that's why he sent me off to be a factor [agent] in the country. But hush! tongue, and I'll give you a cake."
Taking everything that was said for high praise, the foul slave now drew an earthenware lamp from his bosom, and for more than half an hour mimicked a trumpeter, while Habinnas accompanied him, squeezing his lip down with his fingers. Finally he actually stepped out into the middle of the room, and first imitated a flute player by means of broken reeds; then with riding-cloak and whip, acted the muleteer, until Habinnas called him to his side and kissed him, gave him a drink and cried, "Bravo! Massa, bravo! I'll give you a pair of boots."
We should never have seen the end of these tiresome inflictions but for the extra course now coming in,-- thrushes of pastry, stuffed with raisins and walnuts, followed by quinces stuck over with thorns, to represent sea-urchins. This would have been intolerable enough, had it not been for a still more outlandish dish, such a horrible concoction, we would rather have died than touch it. Directly it was on the table,-- to all appearance a fatted goose, with fish and fowl of all kinds round it. "Friends," cried Trimalchio, "every single thing you see on that dish is made out of one substance." With my accustomed perspicacity, I instantly guessed its nature, and said, giving Agamemnon a look, "For my own part, I shall be greatly surprised, if it is not all made of filth, or at any rate mud. When I was in Rome at the Saturnalia,  I saw some sham eatables of the same sort."
[ch. 70] I had not done speaking when Trimalchio explained, "As I hope to grow a bigger man,-- in fortune I mean, not fat,-- I declare my cook made it every bit out of a pig. Never was a more invaluable fellow! Give the word, he'll make you a fish of the paunch, a wood-pigeon of the lard, a turtle-dove of the forehand, and a hen of the hind leg! And that's why I very cleverly gave him such a fine and fitting name as Daedalus.  And because he's such a good servant, I brought him a present from Rome, a set of knives of Noric steel."  These he immediately ordered to be brought, and examined and admired them, even allowing us to try their edge on our cheeks.
All of a sudden in rushed two slaves, as if fresh from a quarrel at the fountain; at any rate they still had their water-pots hanging from the shoulder-yokes. Then when Trimalchio gave judgment upon their difference, they would neither of them accept his decision, but each smashed the other's pot with a stick. We were horror-struck at the drunken scoundrels' insolence, and looking hard at the combatants, we noticed oysters and scallops tumbling out of the broken pitchers, which another slave gathered up and handed round on a platter. This refinement was matched by the ingenious cook, who now brought in snails on a little silver gridiron, singing the while in a quavering, horribly rasping voice.
I am really ashamed to relate what followed, it was so unheard-of a piece of luxury. Long-haired slave boys brought in an unguent in a silver basin, and anointed our feet with it as we lay at table, after first wreathing our legs and ankles with garlands. Afterwards a small quantity of the same perfume was poured into the wine-jars and the lamps.
By this time a strong wish to dance had seized upon Fortunata, while Scintilla's hands were going quicker in applause even than her tongue in chatter, when Trimalchio said, "I give you my permission, Philargyrus, and you, Cario, notorious champion though you are of the green,  to take your places at table; also bid Menophila, your bedfellow, to do the same." To make a long story short, we were all but thrust off our couches, such a throng of domestics now invaded the dinner- table. I actually noticed occupying a place above my own the cook who had made a goose out of a pig, reeking as he was with fish-pickle and sauces. Indeed he was not satisfied with merely being present, but immediately began an imitation of Ephesus the Tragedian, after which he offered his master a bet that at the next races the green would score first prize.
[ch. 71] Delighted at the challenge, Trimalchio cried, "Yes! my friends, slaves are human beings too, and have sucked mother's milk as well as we, though untoward circumstance has borne them down. Nevertheless, without prejudicing me, they shall some day soon drink the water of the free. In a word, I enfranchise them all in my will. I bequeath into the bargain a farm and his bedfellow to Philargyrus, a street block to Cario, besides a twentieth and a bed and bedding. I name Fortunata my heir, and commend her to all my friends' kindness. And all this I make public, to the end my whole household may love me now as well as if I were dead already."
All began to express their gratitude to so kind a master, when Trimalchio, quite dropping his trifling vein, ordered a copy of his will to be fetched, and read it through from beginning to end amid the groans of all members of the household. Then turning to Habinnas, he asked him, "What say you, dear friend? Are you building my monument according to my directions? I ask you particularly that at the feet of my effigy you have my little bitch put, and garlands and perfume caskets and all Petraites' fights,  that by your good help I may live on even after death. The frontage is to be a hundred feet long, and it must reach back two hundred. For I wish to have all kinds of fruit trees growing around my ashes and plenty of vines. Surely it's a great mistake to make houses so fine for the living, yet to give never a thought to these where we have to dwell far, far longer. And that's why I especially insist on the notice: THIS MONUMENT DOES NOT DESCEND TO THE HEIR.
But I shall take good care to provide in my will against my remains being insulted. For I intend to put one of my freedmen in charge of my burial place, to see that the rabble don't come running and dirtying up my monument. I beg you to have ships under full sail carved on it, and me sitting on the tribunal, in my Senator's robes, with five gold rings on my fingers,  and showering money from a bag among the public;  for you remember I gave a public banquet once, two denarii a head. Also there should be shown, if you approve, a banqueting-hall, and all the people enjoying themselves pleasantly. On my right hand put a figure of my wife, Fortunata, holding a dove and leading a little bitch on a leash, also my little lad, and some good capacious wine-jars, stoppered so that the wine may not escape. Also you may carve a broken urn, and a boy weeping over it. Also a sundial in the center, so that anyone looking to see the time must willy-nilly read my name. As for the lettering, look this over carefully and see if you think it is good enough: HERE LIES C. POMPEIUS TRIMALCHIO, A SECOND MAECENAS.  HE WAS NOMINATED SEVIR IN HIS ABSENCE. HE MIGHT HAVE BEEN A MEMBER OF EVERY DECURIA IN ROME, BUT DECLINED. PIOUS, BRAVE, HONORABLE, HE ROSE FROM THE RANKS WITHOUT LEARNING OR EDUCATION, HE LEFT A MILLION OF MONEY BEHIND HIM. FAREWELL; GO AND DO THOU LIKEWISE!"
[ch. 72] When he had finished reading this document, Trimalchio fell to weeping copiously. Fortunata wept too; so did Habinnas; so did the servants; in fact, the whole household filled the room with lamentations, for all the world like guests at a funeral. Indeed I was beginning to weep myself, when Trimalchio resumed. "Well!" said he, "as we know we've got to die, why not make the most of life? As I should like to see you all happy, let's jump into the bath. I guarantee you'll be none the worse; it's as hot as an oven."
"Right! right!" cried Habinnas, "to make two days out of one; nothing I should like better," and springing up barefoot as he was, he followed Trimalchio, who led the way, clapping his hands.
For myself I said, turning to Ascyltos, "What think you, Ascyltos? as for me, to look at a bath now would kill me." 
"Let's consent," he replied; "and then, as they are making for the bathroom, escape in the confusion."
This being agreed upon, Giton led the way through the colonnade, and we reached the house-door, where the watchdog greeted us with such furious barking that Ascyltos tumbled into the tank in sheer terror. I too, tipsy as I was, and having been once already scared at a painted dog, got dragged in myself in helping him out of the water. However the hall-keeper rescued us, who interfered and quieted the dog, and pulled us out shivering onto terra firma. Giton had already discovered an ingenious way of disarming the animal; anything we had given him from our dinner, he threw to the barking brute, whose temper was appeased and his attention diverted by the food. But when, cold and wet, we asked the hall-keeper to let us out, "You're much mistaken," said he, "if you think you can go out the same way you came in. No guest is ever dismissed by the same door; they enter one, go out by another."
[ch. 73] So what were we poor unfortunates to do now, prisoners in this new kind of labyrinth,  and reduced to choose the bath as the only alternative? We took the bull by the horns therefore, and asked the hall-keeper to show us the way there; then throwing off our clothes, which Giton proceeded to dry in the porch, we entered the bath, which we found to be a narrow chamber, more like a cooling cistern than anything else, with Trimalchio standing upright in it. Not even under these circumstances could he refrain from his loathsome trick of boasting, declaring there was nothing more agreeable than to be free of a crowd in bathing, and that his bath-house occupied the exact site of a former bakery. Presently, feeling tired, he sat down, and tempted by his resonance of the bathroom, turned up his tipsy face and open mouth to the vault, and began murdering some of Menecrates' songs,  as we were told by those who could make out the words.
The remainder of the company were running hand in hand round the edge of the bath, laughing and shouting at the top of their voices. Others with their hands tied behind their backs, were trying to pick up rings from the pavement in their mouths, or kneeling down, to bend back and kiss the points of their toes. Whilst the others were engaged in these amusements, we got down into the bath, that was being heated for Trimalchio.
After dissipating the fumes of wine by these means, we were next conducted to another dinner-hall, where Fortunata had laid out a dainty banquet of her own. I noticed especially lamps suspended over the table with miniature figures of fishermen in bronze, tables of solid silver, cups of gilt pottery ware round the board, and wine pouring from a wine skin before our eyes.
[ch. 74] No sooner said than done; a rooster was instantly produced from somewhere near, which Trimalchio ordered to be killed and put in the pot to boil. He was cut up accordingly by the same clever cook who a while before had manufactured game and fish out of a pig, and thrown into a stew-pan. Then whilst Daedalus kept the pot boiling, Fortunata ground pepper in a box-wood mill.
These dainties being dispatched, Trimalchio turned to the servants, saying, "What! haven't you had your dinners yet? be off now, and let the relay take your places." Hereupon a second set of attendants came in, the outgoing slaves crying, "Farewell, Gaius!" and the incoming, "Hail, Gaius!" At this point our mirth was disturbed for the first time; for a rather good-looking slave boy having entered along with the new lot of domestics, Trimalchio laid hold of him and started kissing him over and over again. At this Fortunata, to assert "her lawful and equitable rights" (as she put it), began abusing her husband, calling him an abomination and a disgrace, that he could not restrain his filthy passions, ending up with the epithet "dog!" Trimalchio for his part was so enraged at her railing that he hurled a wine-cup in his wife's face. Fortunata screamed out, as if she had lost an eye, and clapped her trembling hands to her face. Scintilla was equally alarmed, and sheltered her shuddering friend in her bosom. At the same time an officious attendant applied a pitcher of cold water to her cheek, over which the poor lady drooped and fell a-sighing and a-sobbing.
But Trimalchio went on. "What! what!" he stormed, "has the trollop no memory? didn't I take her from the stand in the slave-market, and make her a free woman among her equals? But there, she puffs herself out, like the frog in the fable; she's too proud to spit in her own bosom, the blockhead. If you are born in a hovel, you shouldn't dream of a palace. As I hope to prosper, I'll see to it this Cassandra of the camp is brought to reason.  Why! when I was only worth two pennies, I might have married ten millions of money. You know I might. Agatho, perfumer to the lady next door, drew me aside, and 'I'll give you a hint,' said he; 'don't let your race die out.' But I, with my silly good nature, and not wanting to seem fickle-minded, I've driven my ax into my own leg. All right! I'll make you long yet to dig me up again with your fingernails! And to show this minute the harm you've done yourself, I forbid you, Habinnas, to put her statue on my tomb at all, that I may not have any scolding when I'm gone. I'll teach her I can do her a mischief; I won't have her so much as kiss my dead body!"
[ch. 75] After this thunderclap, Habinnas began to entreat him to forget and forgive. "Nobody," he urged, "but goes wrong sometimes; we're men after all, not gods." Scintilla spoke to the same purpose with tears in her eyes, and besought him in the name of his good Genius [122b] and addressing him as Gaius, to be pacified. Trimalchio could restrain his tears no longer, but cried, "As you hope, Habinnas, to enjoy your little fortune,-- if I've done anything wrong, spit in my face. I kissed the good, careful lad, not because he's a pretty boy, but because he's so thrifty and clever. I tell you he can recite ten pieces, reads his book at sight, has bought himself a Thracian costume out of his daily rations, besides an armchair and a pair of cups. Does he not deserve to be the apple of my eye? But Fortunata won't have it. That's your pleasure, is it, you tipsy wench? I warn you, make the most of what you've got, you cormorant; and don't make me nasty, sweetheart, else you'll get a taste of my temper. You know me; once I've made up my mind, I'm just as hard as nails!"
"However, not to forget the living, pray, my good friends, enjoy yourselves. I was once what you are now, but my own merits have made me what you see. It's gumption makes a man, all the rest's trash. 'Buy cheap, and sell dear,' that's me; one man will tell you one thing, another another, but I'm just bursting with success. What! Crying still, grunty pig? Mark me, I'll give you something worth crying about. But as I was saying, it was my thriftiness that raised me to my present position. When first I came from Asia, I was no higher than this candle-stick. I tell you, I used to measure myself by it every day; and the sooner to get a beard under my nose, I would smear my lips with the lamp oil. But I was my master's joy for fourteen years; there's nothing disgraceful in doing your master's bidding. And I satisfied my mistress in the bargain. You know what I mean; I say no more, for I'm none of your boasters."
[ch. 76] "Eventually, it so pleased the gods, I found myself king of the castle, and behold! I could twist my master round my finger. To make a long story short, he made me his co-heir with the Emperor, and I came into a senatorial fortune.  Still no one is ever satisfied. I longed to be a merchant prince. So, not to be tedious, I built five ships, loaded up with wine,-- it was worth its weight in gold just then,-- and sent them off to Rome. You might have supposed I'd ordered it so! If you'll believe me, every one of the ships foundered, and that's a fact. In one day Neptune  swallowed me up thirty millions. Do you imagine I gave in? Not I, by my faith! the loss only whetted my appetite, as if it were a mere nothing. I built more ships, bigger and better found and luckier, until everyone allowed I was a well-plucked one. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, you know; and a big ship's a big venture. I loaded up again with wine, bacon, beans, perfumery and slaves. Fortunata was a real good wife to me that time; she sold all her jewelry and all her clothes, and laid a hundred gold pieces in my hand; and it proved the leaven of my little property. A thing's soon done, when the gods will it. One voyage I cleared a round ten millions. Instantly I bought back all the farms that had been my late master's; I build a house; I buy up cattle to sell again. Whatever I touched, grew like a honeycomb. When I discovered I had as large an income as the whole revenue of my native land amounted to, off hands; I withdrew from commerce, and started lending money among freedmen. Moreover, just when I'd quite made up my mind to have no more to do with trade, an astrologer advised me to the same course, a little Greek fellow, that happened to come to our own town. Serapa he was called, up to all the secrets of the gods. He told me things I had clean forgotten, explaining it all as pat as needle and thread; he knew my inside, he could all but tell me what I'd had for dinner the day before. You would have thought he had lived with me all my life."
[ch. 77] "Now tell me, Habinnas,-- you were there at the time, I think-- didn't he say: 'You have used your wealth to set a mistress over you. You are not very lucky in your friends. No one is ever properly grateful to you. You have enormous estates. You are nourishing a viper beneath your wing,' and-- why should I not tell you?-- that I have now left me to live thirty years, four months and two days. Also I am soon to come in for another fortune. This is what my Fate has in store for me. And if I have the luck to extend my lands to Apulia, I shall have done pretty well in my day. Meantime by Mercury's good help,  I have built this house. You remember it as a cottage; it's as big as a temple now. It has four dining-rooms, twenty bedrooms, two marble porticos, a series of storerooms up stairs, the chamber where I sleep myself, this viper's sitting-room, an excellent porter's lodge; while the guest chambers afford ample accommodations. In fact, when Scaurus comes this way, there's nowhere he better likes to stop at, and he has an ancestral mansion of his own by the seaside. Yes! and there are plenty more fine things I'll show you directly. Take my word for it,-- Have a penny, good for a penny; have something, and you're thought something. So your humble servant, who was a toad once upon a time, is a king now. Meantime, Stichus, just bring out the graveclothes I propose to be buried in; also the unguent, and a taste of the wine I wish to have my bones washed with."
[ch. 78] Without a moment's delay, Stichus produced a white shroud and a magistrate's gown into the dining-hall, and asked us to feel if they were made of good wool. Then his master added with a laugh, "Mind, Stichus, mice and moth don't get at them; else I'll have you burned alive. I wish to be buried in all my bravery, that the whole people may call down the blessings on my head." Immediately afterwards he opened a pot of spikenard,  and after rubbing us all with the ointment, "I only hope," said he, "it will give me as much pleasure when I'm dead as it does now when I'm alive." Further he ordered the wine vessels to be filled up, telling us to "imagine you are invited guests at my funeral feast."
The thing was getting positively sickening, when Trimalchio, now in a state of disgusting intoxication, commanded a new diversion, a company of horn-blowers, to be introduced; and then stretching himself out along the edge of a couch on a pile of pillows, "Make believe I am dead," he ordered. "Play something fine." Then the horn-blowers struck up a loud funeral dirge. In particular one of these undertaker's men, the most conscientious of the lot, blew so tremendous a fanfare he roused the whole neighborhood. Hereupon the watchman in charge of the surrounding district, thinking Trimalchio's house was on fire, suddenly burst open the door, and rushing in with water and axes, started the much admired confusion usual under such circumstances. For our part, we seized the excellent opportunity thus offered, snapped our fingers in Agamemnon's face, and rushed away helter-skelter just as if we were escaping from a real conflagration.
 A last supper granted to gladiators headed for the arena, presumably referring to their encounter with Quartilla and company.
 Romans often headed to the public baths for exercise, bathing, and socializing. The public baths fulfilled many of the functions of modern health clubs or gyms.
 Eunuchs were men who had been castrated. In this case, they are probably slaves as well.
 Agamemnon and his younger brother Menelaus (Helen's husband) were the two Spartan kings responsible for instigating the Trojan war. Spartans were famously laconic, so it is a joke to make a teacher of rhetoric have Agamemnon as a name.
 A libation was a drink offering to the gods.
 A rough woolen cloth left with a ragged finish on one side. He would have looked a bit shaggy.
 Although the author refers to a wall painting, there is a famous entry mosaic in Pompeii depicting a snarling dog with “Beware the Dog!” (Cave canem) written prominently in black tiles.
 A caduceus was a staff with entwined snakes, the symbol of Mercury, god of trickery and commerce.
 To the Greeks, Athena. Also associated with cunning and cleverness, weaving, and warfare. Odysseus’s patron.
 For Mercury, see note 28 above.
 Good fortune was depicted as a goddess. Our Thanksgiving cornucopia comes from her cornucopia.
 Three sister goddesses traditionally depicted as women who spun, measured and cut the thread of each mortal’s existence.
 These objects were typical for upper class patrician household shrines, but not for those of a freedman. For the role of the Lares, see: http://www.classics.upenn.edu/myth/php/tools/dictionary.php?regexp=LARES&method=standard
 Also known as Aphrodite, goddess of sensual love.
 These Greek epic poems were considered classic works of literature by both the Greeks and the Romans. Roman frescoes featuring scenes from these two Greek works were very popular. They indicated you had “class” enough to read Greek (or have it read to you by an educated slave). A rather graphic fresco was recently unearthed in Pompeii and featured a wounded gladiator: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/bloody-gladiator-fresco-unearthed-pompeii-180973349/
 More instances of pretensions to higher status than that of a freedman -- Trimalchio is fusing symbols of various offices higher than he ever occupied as a sevir or participant in a committee (the Board of Six) founded to enable freedmen's entree into public office and foster local observance of emperor-worship. Fasces (rods bundled around an axe) were symbols carried by magistrates' attendants, while ship's beaks (or rams) were often seized and displayed in victory monuments, such as that constructed by Octavian after the battle of Actium. Multiple names also indicated free status (most Roman names had three components).
 The left or "sinister" side was considered unlucky.
[37b] The equivalent of about three days’ wages for a common legionary.
 Slaves could not by definition have clients. The Roman patron-client relationship was complicated. Normally a client sought out a more powerful patron for protection and favors while the patron received paybacks and support from his clients. Think The Godfather, but legitimate and mainstream.
 Tyrian purple was most expensive dye in the Roman world, derived from shellfish. One-dipped was good, twice-dyed better.
 For the social hierarchy built into seating arrangements at Roman dinner parties, see: https://blogs.getty.edu/iris/reclining-and-dining-and-drinking-in-ancient-rome/
 From Alexandria in Egypt, a major trading port. The slaves may or may not have been Egyptians or Nubians.
 Dormice and some of the other foods served were considered delicacies. But the sheer amount and exotic nature of the food served is meant to reflect on Trimalchio's crass nature.
 Trimalchio is very nearly breaking several laws here restricting the use of purple-bordered garments to high officials, while gold rings were restricted to the patrician classes (senators and equestrians).
 In some cultures, embryonic chicks are a delicacy, but not for the narrator.
 A warbler-type bird considered a delicacy, a bit like ortolans in France.
 The most expensive vintage, like cracking open a bottle of Rothschild.
 Perhaps a crow or raven.
 Each food is meant to be a visual pun on the zodiac sign in which it was placed.
 A type of wild plant still gathered in the Mediterranean region for food.
 A famous mythical winged horse.
 Marsyas was a satyr who challenged Apollo to a music-contest, lost, was flayed alive and transformed into a river, here a river of fish sauce (garum).
 Her name means "she of good fortune," but the insinuation is that she was formerly a prostitute and so ritually unclean.
 Factotum = jack of all trades = someone who is entrusted with every kind of task.
 See note 40 above.
[56b] A bit like tricking a leprechaun to find his pot of gold.
 Trimalchio is citing the Aeneid (bk. 2, line 44) referring to Ulysses' reputation for deception.
 The twelve main gods who lived on Mount Olympus: Jupiter and Juno, Vesta and Ceres, Minerva and Diana, Neptune and Mars, Mercury, Apollo, Venus, and Vulcan.
 Hipparchus was a Greek astronomer, geographer, and mathematician. Aratus was a Greek poet whose most famous work, Phaenomena, was on astronomy.
 An elaborate joke along the lines of the American tradition of the presidential pardoning of the White House Thanksgiving turkey.
 These were all alternative names for Bacchus (Liber), god of drink.
 An elaborate pun on "liber pater," or "free father," which a slave or freedman could not by definition possess. “Liber” was another of Bacchus’ titles, but also means “Free.” For the freedman's cap (pileus), see the description of the manumission ritual in the introduction.
 Fulling was a process used to cleanse and shrink woolen cloth. In Roman times, urine was collected as a source of ammonium salts and the cloth was allowed to soak in this mixture and was agitated by slaves treading the vats. It was a smelly process frequently confined to specific areas of the city.
 As Sarah Ruden notes, ceasing to bathe as part of mourning was a Semitic custom, not a Roman one (Satyricon, 29 n. 90).
 See the section in the introduction on the manumission of slaves in wills and the place of freed persons in funeral processions.
 Government officials responsible for public works, spectacles, and free grain distributions (the “dole”).
 Sicily was a major wheat-growing region.
 God of the skies and rain.
 Mora was a game a bit like rock, paper, scissors (which depended on seeing the hand gestures of the players)
 Thracians were highly esteemed as soldiers and gladiators. A category of gladiatorial fighters were also called "Thracians" after their armor and fighting style.
 Romans began their studies on Greek literature, then progressed to Latin.
 Advocates made speeches on their clients’ behalf in court and were trained typically in rhetoric and law.
 A decuria was a group of ten. Trimalchio owns hundreds of slaves.
 Trimalchio refers here to the famous labors or tasks assigned to the hero Hercules.
 Trimalchio, of course, gets these stories all wrong. Odysseus put out the Cyclop Polyphemus' eye with a stake.
 The Cumaean Sibyl was a priestess of the shrine to Apollo at the Greek colony of Cumae, near modern day Naples, Italy. She forgot to qualify her wish to live forever and so aged as she lived until she withered into a living mummy.
 A famous Carthiginian general who never came near Troy.
 Again, either the legends are misremembered or the workmanship shoddy. They are probably meant to show Medea slaying her children and Pasiphae shut up in the hollow cow.
 Two contemporary gladiators -- a crass choice for silverware.
 A genius was one's guardian spirit.
 Pompey the Great was notoriously rich.
 Aediles were public officials, but Trimalchio's estates seem to have their own governmental system, they are so vast.
 Baiae was a resort town.
 Atellan farce was a type of Roman comedic play.
 Writing tablets were made of boards coated with wax.
 Perhaps a fictional writer.
 A ridiculous comparison. Cicero was a famous orator of high Latin style, while Publilius wrote mimes.
 Trimalchio means "prince." The equestrian class was originally a group wealthy enough to serve as cavalry in the Roman army, but eventually served in various government offices and became nearly indistinguishable from the senatorial class.
 During the feast of Saturnalia, slaves were allowed to temporarily reverse roles with their owners.
 The twentieth was a tax of five percent of their current value paid by freed slaves.
 The gallows here probably refers to crucifixion, not hanging.
 A Roman riddle.
 Trimalchio makes a hash of famous legends. Ganymede was a mortal youth kidnapped by Jove to be his cupbearer; Diomedes was one of the leaders of the Hellenes during the Trojan War. Trimalchio confuses them with Castor and Pollux, brothers of Helen, famous fraternal twins and heroes. Paris carried off Helen, who was married to Menelaus, Agamemnon’s brother. Iphigenia was sacrificed, not married to Achilles. Ajax was driven mad by Athena, but it was the result of a contest over the deceased Achilles’ armor. Ajax was driven mad by Athena and slaughtered herds of sheep and cows in his rage, before coming to his senses. He committed suicide for shame.
 Priapus was a god of fertility and fecundity, often depicted with an oversize and erect penis and surrounded by an abundance of fruits.
 Both Julius Caesar and his adoptive son and heir, Octavian, were deified after their deaths, but this appears to refer to a living emperor.
 Each household had its guardian gods (Lares), who had their own shrine and were given daily offerings.
 Their names mean “Pork,” “Happiness,” “Profit."
 Relating to the island of Chios. Perhaps insinuating that Trimalchio was "effeminate" from an early age.
 Some Roman men preyed on pretty slave boys. Trimalchio seems to have been one of these victims in his youth, but also had a "favorite" slave boy of his own once he was emancipated.
 Night-hag referred to the belief that malevolent beings could cause nightmares or sleep paralysis.
Appelles was the name of a famous Greek actor in the emperor Caligula's entourage.
 Croesus was the name of a fabulously wealthy mythical king.
 Perhaps named after Scylax of Caryanda, a Carian sailor in Persian service, who explored the shores of the Indian Ocean.
 Encolpius was on the run from the law, which praetors enforced. Lictors were officers who attended the consul or other magistrates and enacted sentences passed on offenders.
 Palamedes was a hero among the Greek forces besieging Troy.
 Both were hideously expensive naturally derived dies: vermilion from crushed beetles, saffron from crocus stamens.
 Aeneid, bk. 5, line 1.
 A kind of low-brow comedic skit.
 A carnivalesque festival where fake food would have been appropriate.
 Daedalus was a famous inventor who created the labyrinth and wings for humans, among other things.
 The town of Noricum was apparently known for producing fine steel.
 That is, a chariot-racing team named the “Greens.” A bit like a follower of the Cubs in Chicago inviting a Sox supporter to dine.
 Evidently a famous gladiator.
 Gold rings were reserved for the senatorial class. Freedman could not belong to this social group.
 Maecenas was an ally of Augustus well known for his debauchery.
 Taking a hot bath after a large meal was considered hazardous to one's health.
 A reference to the famous Labyrinth said to have been constructed by Daedalus to house the man-eating minotaur.
 A famous musician during Nero’s reign.
 Hearing a rooster crow was evidently considered unlucky.
 Cassandra was a famously mad Trojan prophetess whose foretellings were never believed.
[122b] A genius was one's own personal guardian deity.
 Sarah Ruden notes that some families made the emperor a co-heir with their children in order to avoid imperial confiscation of their estates. senators were required to have personal resources of a least one million sesterces (Satyricon, 38 n112, 59 n165).
 Neptune was god of the sea.
 Mercury was patron of merchants and thieves.
 A very expensive perfume.