- idiomatic Of high standing or honor.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. phrases which have survived the old custom, in the houses of people of rank, of placing a large saltcellar near the middle of a long table, the places above which were assigned to the guests of distinction, and those below to dependents, inferiors, and poor relations. See Saltfoot.
- In medieval times, salt (a valuable seasoning) was placed in the middle of a dining table and the lord and his family were seated "above the salt" and other guests or servants below. (Wiktionary)
“In a few short minutes of loosed subconsciousness, I have sat in the halls of kings, above the salt and below the salt, been fool and jester, man-at-arms, clerk and monk; and I have been ruler above all at the head of the table — temporal power in my own sword arm, in the thickness of my castle walls, and the numbers of my finshing* men; spiritual power likewise mine by token of the fact that cowled priests and fat abbots sat beneath me and swigged my wine and swined my meat.”
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