Money Trivia Quiz

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2. The salt standard

“To be worth one’s salt” means that one gives good value for one’s pay. But where does this familiar phrase come from?

A) From the fact that salt is a necessity of life, which may be deserved or not
B) From the idea that a good man is made of salt, a bad man of mud
C) From the practice in ancient times of paying soldiers with salt
D) From the use of salt by Roman emperors as a lavish gift for dignitaries

Your answer was correct!

In ancient times, salt was not readily obtainable, and its supply was strictly managed. According to Pliny the Elder, a Roman historian, the substance was valuable enough that soldiers were sometimes paid with it directly instead of with coin. This gave rise to the Latin word salarium, and in turn the English word “salary”.

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