Are you worth your salt?
According to some experts, around 500 B.C., soldiers of the Roman Empire received salarium argentum, (salt money), for their wages. Our word salary derives from this practice. If they did their job well, it was said, “You’re worth your salt.”
There is debate however, others believe the latin term for salary referred to the money exchanged for wages. And soldiers bought their own salt with it.
Regardless of details, the fact is, at one time in our global history, salt was highly valued. We take the inexpensive containers for granted in western society, but this hasn’t always been the case. The Roman Republic, and then Empire, controlled the price of salt at will. If they needed money to pay for their wars, they raised the price. If they wanted to appease poor citizens, they lowered it.
Many modern conveniences are precious commodities with a savory past. We take for granted those things easily picked up at the grocery store. We pass cliché’s, “He’s worth his salt,” like shakers at the table. But there was a time people fought and died for salt.
There is much to learn by digging into the past. Where do words and phrases originate?
When I go to the office and evaluate my performance at the end of the day I wonder, “Is my work worth its salt?” And am I basing its value on the past or the present. Is it worth as much today as when I first took the job? If not, I’d better do some more digging. What about you?
Anita FreshFaith @ Work
Luke 14:34 (NIV)
“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?