History of Salt

In simple terms salt is an element known as sodium chloride. It’s essential to humans, animals and some plants. It’s used to season food and is also commonly used to preserve food. It was even used to preserve ancient mummies!

This simple element was the first commodity to be traded internationally and was an early form of currency. The word ‘salary’ comes from salt. Roman soldiers were paid using sacks of salt hence the word salary.

Salt has influenced many words and phrases we use everyday. Romans used salt to season the leaves they ate which lead to the word ‘salad’. The phrase ‘salt of the earth’ means someone who is worthy and the phrase ‘not worth his salt’ came from a time when slaves were paid for using salt.

Cities were built around salt mining. One example being Saltzburg in Austria. ‘Salz’ is German for salt. Commonly known as ‘white gold’ salt was very valuable and created wealth for the whole area.  

Salzburg, a city built on salt

 Salzburg, a city built on salt

Salt is steeped in superstition. It was believed to have mystical properties. Some cultures used it in sacrificial ceremonies and some cultures believed that it would ward off evil spirits.

Religion, war…. salt has been at the core of our history. Salt has influenced our culture, our beliefs and our societies.