Monday, August 12, 2013

Scotland, Red Hair and Jewishness?

Just came across this interesting article. It's titled Red Hair: A Mutation, A Royal Trait, and Sometimes a Curse. I'll steal some of the bits I found interesting.
From my research, I found out that Poland was heavily populated with the Ashkenazic Jews, who are also known for their red hair. In a 1990 article titled “Polish Jewish History,” the author stated that “During the eighteenth century, at least, about half of the urban population of Poland was Jewish” (Hundert). Therefore, it seems safe to say that they were Ashkenazic Jews and not Sephardic Jews because they were from Poland. In an article titled, “On the Racial Characteristics of Modern Jews,” researchers found that there were “…thrice as many red-haired individuals as either Poles, Russians, or Austrians, and half as many again as Germans.”
This bit about the possible relationship between Scotland, Jewishness and red hair also caught my eye.
So far, many understand that the Celts could have inherited some of their red hair color from the Vikings, but it seems that those of Jewish descent may also have contributed to the accumulation of redheads, even in Scotland. According to the article titled “On the Racial Characteristics of Modern Jews”, the researchers speculate that the Scottish could have inherited their red hair from the European Jews. “Indeed, but for the abundant presence of red hair among Scotchmen [sic] it might be more open to explain the origin of red hair among Europeans as due to an infusion of Jewish blood than to account for it among Jews by assuming intermixture with Aryans” (Jacobs). To say that this is possible helps explain how Scotland is the country today that has the highest percentage of red haired individuals, although the country is mainly Christian. However, there is also the possibility of Jewish people changing their religion to Christianity, and the fact that there might be Jewish heritage in the backgrounds of the Scots, but they just do not know it yet.

The Golden Treasure

I came across this story last night - The Golden Treasure by Hans Christian Andersen. It's the story of a red-haired boy who grows up to become a famous musician. It's a quaint little tale and red hair is central to the theme.

I wonder if there's a hidden meaning to it which I'm missing, although I think in truth the story is simply a metaphor for the authors own life. The red hair possibly symbolising otherness as it often does.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The White (er, Red) Queen - Maybe

I've been watching the excellent BBC drama 'The White Queen' of late. It's brilliant TV, but I'm mildly annoyed that Elizabeth Woodville is portrayed as a blonde lol. It's inspired me to check out the hair colour of some of the other War of the Roses skanks.

It turns out that Elizabeth Woodville's daughter, Elizabeth of York, was also a redhead - or at least that's what her surviving portrait would suggest.

I decided to double-check Elizabeth Woodville's red-hairedness as well (not with any real research of course, just with a Google search). I came across this on a BBC history thread;
"She didn't have blonde hair at all. Do you remember Minette queried this on the old Elizabeth of York thread? That famous portrait of Elizabeth quite clearly shows her hair is red - gilt or gild (the word everyone quotes as "evidence" that she was a blonde) has an archaic meaning of blood-red."
Gilt/gild has an "archaic meaning of blood red"?? This is fascinating. If this is true it opens up so many doors.

I checked an on-line dictionary. Gild - Archaic To smear with blood. This kind of links red hair with blood and with gold. Add to this the fact that it was once thought that redheads were conceived during menstruation and it all becomes quite interesting.

Etymologically it's interesting too. Gild = gold. Gilt = guilt maybe?? (sin and it's association with red hair and sex).

Gild the lily???

Gild - to adorn. To make beautiful. Again the association with sin - covering the body, self-awareness.

It's all adding up to something. I'll have to keep a lookout for this gilt/gild link in the future.

Also, I've just wondered gilt=guilt=debt???

Anyway, going back to The White Queen. It portrays Elizabeth Woodville as a witch (from a family line of watery-witchy-Melusine descendants). Maybe it was her red hair that brought that suspicion?