Classic White Marble Mortar with Pestle
The name mortar originates from the vulgar latin mortarjiu s, derived in turn from the more ancient mortare (making parts) . The need to crush and pulverize some materials by percussion dates back to remote times and was initially practiced mainly using natural cavities and, then, perhaps even before milling with the millstone, with mortars almost always made of stone. The most ancient mortars are in hard stone (used, for example, by Etruscans and Greeks), marble or alabaster. Even the Bible testifies to its ancient use: “The manna was pounded in a mortar to prepare cakes” .
Since the days of the earliest civilizations, the mortar has been widely used for cooking herbs, roots and drugs. During the excavations of Troy, archaeologists found a basalt mortar with granite and limestone pestles. Egyptians, Greeks and Etruscans used alabaster and jasper mortars to grind grain. Another use of the mortar since ancient times was in alchemy, herbal medicine and pharmacy. The most used by apothecaries was the bronze mortar, which was forged in the shops of many European locations (in Italy especially Veneto and Tuscany), using the same mold as the bells.