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Salary – The Paid Story!

- By Dwaipayan, 03 November 2020 | 5 MIN READ


For many of us, a notification beep followed by an instant popup “Salary credited” is perhaps the sweetest thing that happens every 30 days. Weird but true! did you know the word “salary” had nothing to do with money, and everything to do with salt? The irony, sweetest days were once upon a time salted!  

The first salary could have been during the Neolithic Revolution somewhere between 10,000 BCE and 6000 BCE, a time before a proper bartering system that took in place or a system for organized employees.

Coming to the period of ancient Rome, it was salt and not money that was used for commerce and trading. The soldiers who worked for the Roman empire got a handful of salt as payment each day. The saying “being worth one’s salt” roots out from there. Soldiers who did well worth the salt they earned. Pliny the Elder, a famous Roman historian, in his book, Natural History, said "In Rome, the soldier's pay was originally salt and the word salary originates from it” 

Some sources also point out that the word “soldier” is actually from the Latin word 'sal dare' which means – to give salt. However, there is no concrete proof or connection. Research says a connection might exist because the amount paid to the soldiers could have been explicitly given to buying salt, or for securing the famous Salt Roads, or for capturing salt supplies. A better-established fact that historians credit the denotation of “soldier” is from the word ‘solidus’ meaning gold - coined by Diocletian in 301 CE.

Significance of salt in ancient Rome

Salt is vital for our survival. The ancient civilizations and communities started to settle down alongside rivers and water bodies from where they could catch salt, or settled in locations where they could easily trade for salt. There is one more for you! the suffix of 'wich' as used in Sandwich and Norwich means those places were once sources of salt.

It was not only the Romans, but the Chinese, Hitties, Hebrews, and Greeks all appreciated the value of salt. Apart from its apparent need and usage, it was also used to salt the earth, a ritual started by the Assyrians.

During its peak, when Rome was rising into one of the greatest empires in the world, roads were being made for the easy transportation of salt. Rome exploited the Adriatic Sea for its shallow depth and a high salinity other than the Tyrrhenian Sea which was much closer to Rome.

During medieval times, being paid a ‘salary’ wasn't very common and was rare till pre-industrial Europe. The bartering trade kept the market going. The nobles and courtiers, however, received an annual pay. Slaves and serfs either received no pay, or got meager of what they produced, or only food and lodging as remuneration. The assistants of the universities and monasteries in medieval times were usually paid a salary though.

Money is the best motivator when it comes to choosing a career. And here we’re with the top 10 highest paying jobs in India. The list is updated in 2020.

The highest-paying jobs are basically in Healthcare, Data Industry, BFSI, and Marketing.

The average salary range of most of the top jobs in these sectors varies between Rs. 7 – 15 LPA, and at times as high as Rs. 20 – 40 LPA. Data Science, Machine Learning has started to replace traditional jobs and offers some of the highest paycheques. 

Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in India 

Medical Professionals (Doctors & Surgeons)

Data Scientist

Machine Learning Experts

Blockchain Developer

Full Stack Software Developer

Product Management

Management Consultant

Investment Banker

Chartered Accountant

Marketing Manager


The opportunity to good work, high paying work exists in every sector. If you’re clear about your goal and know the career to chase – well, you’re the next guy on vacation! 



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