cui plus caeteris aliquantulum salis insi


This is from "Funeral Oration on Prince Henry", p. 20, in: Laudatio Funebris. Fr. Nethersole oratoris Academiae Cantebrig. Cambridge, 1612.

Fatuos a morte defendit ipsa insulsitas; si cui plus caeteris aliquantulum salis insit (quod miremini) statim putrescit.

Is "sal" used here in two senses - salt and wit? And therefore it says that, unlike the action of the salt in flesh (curiously enough), the more of it in the man, the sooner he putrefies?
  • saluete amici!

    From the entirety of the sentence (though without further context it is hard to be sure), it's my guess that there is indeed a deliberate (and clever) pun intended here, as sal meaning 'wit', 'intelligence' (as well as 'humour') contrasts nicely with fatuos and insulsitas; but yes, sal (= 'salt') is well-understood as a preservative of foodstuffs in the days before refrigerators and freezers were invented. It is also well known that in the Royal Navy from the 16th to the 19th centuries 'salt[ed] pork' was a staple part of the seamen's diet.*

    Mr Maroseika's translation of quod miremini (as 'curiously enough') is choice.


    *Edited afterthought: this accounts for the old-fashioned English slang use of '[old] salt' to mean a sailor.
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