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[50] At this the slaves burst into spontaneous applause and shouted, “God bless Gaius!” The cook too was rewarded with a drink and a silver crown, and was handed the cup on a Corinthian dish. Agamemnon began to peer at the dish rather closely, and Trimalchio said, “I am the sole owner of genuine Corinthian plate.” I thought he would declare with his usual effrontery that he had cups imported direct from Corinth. But he went one better: “You may perhaps inquire,” said he, “how I come to be alone in having genuine Corinthian stuff: the obvious reason is that the name of the dealer I buy it from is Corinthus. But what is real Corinthian, unless a man has Corinthus at his back? Do not imagine that I am an ignoramus. I know perfectly well how Corinthian plate was first brought into the world. At the fall of Ilium, Hannibal, a trickster and a great knave, collected all the sculptures, bronze, gold, and silver, into a single pile, and set light to them. They all melted into one amalgam of bronze. The workmen took bits out of this lump and made plates and entree dishes and statuettes. That is how Corinthian metal was born, from all sorts lumped together, neither one kind nor the other. You will forgive me if I say that personally I prefer glass; glass at least does not smell. If it were not so breakable I should prefer it to gold; as it is, it is so cheap.”

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