Saltings were festive ceremonies which, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, initiated Cambridge and Oxford freshmen into the academic and social communities of their individual colleges. Humorous speeches by one or more sophisters (second- or third-year students) introduced first-year students to the assembled college society. Recently texts of several salting speeches have been identified. Relatively little is known about the conventions governing these entertainments; when the tradition died out in the mid-seventeenth century, most of the performance details were lost as well. Nevertheless, elements of the tradition are preserved in the texts and may be amplified by students' diaries, tutors' account books, and university statutes regulating the custom.
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