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But what?

Posted by Lewis on August 11, 2003

In Reply to: Very creative, but... posted by Word Camel on August 11, 2003

: : : : I have found references to "Pale" with a capital P referring to Ireland. But "..Russian Jews from the Pale.." struck me as being curious (Source was a book review in a magazine in a waiting room. Perhaps boredom had me seeing things.) Were/are there Russian Jews in Ireland.

: : : I too thought that the "Pale" meant the area around Dublin under English control, but our forum friends have shown that it was used elesewhere. Search for 'Pale' in the archives for more.

: : I think that "pale" is short for "pallisade" - the pale surrounding an encampment was a wooden fence of rough-hewn timber. I think it served two purposes - to keep livestock in and to keep predators out. "Beyond the pale" meaning outside society appears to have a particular historical meaning, but there is no reason why "the pale" should be limited to one particularly famous pale. I was recently informed that locally one could still see the pale of an ancient deer park (I think the enclosure was 500+ years ago).

: : Anybody consider that the Pale in question might be the area of Palestine? Just a thought.

: The original meaning of 'pale" is a long stake or stick... think Vlad the Impaler. It also came to mean a fence or fortification made up of stakes. 'Palisade' is not an abreviation of pale but a word that comes from the same root. It's an interesting question about whether the world 'palestine' has its root in the word 'pale'. For some reason I thought this expression did have a specific connection with Jewish history but I can't find any reference to it now.

So I didn't mention that the fence-posts were sharpened like stakes.

As for Palestine - I've just done a quick bit of research and it appears that the name is fairly modern - modern Palestine covers an area that was previously in the historic areas of Judah and Israel. It was difficult to find anything because of the heated politics - but it appears that the area has always been ruled by whoever was the biggest cheese in the region - Babylon, Egypt, you name a middle-eastern empire and they stomped all over it. Difficult to get a simple fact such as where the name came from without getting Zionist conspiracy theories rammed down your throat. Mind you, I haven't forgiven the Normans for conquering us, nor the Vikings. I think we should have compensation from them - oh, and the Romans. Where does it end?