English expressions from ancient times

Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
#31
Another one that I don't think has been mentioned yet is to 'draw a line in the sand', from Roman history.

Are you sure that's the origin? The Pale was also a term for the areas under English control in Ireland.
It was also used in the 14th century to describe the land in and around Calais during the Hundred Years War. I'm not sure if its use in regards to Ireland came before or after that.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,293
#32
In Ireland, the area around Dublin directly controlled by England was called the pale. There were various earldoms and such, ruled by descendents of Norman invaders, which were almost independent kingdoms, but under the English king. The rest of Ireland was called "wild Ireland". Anything "beyond the pale" was considered uncivilized by the English.