c. 1400, pallour, "paleness, dullness," from Old French palor "paleness, whiteness" (12c.) and directly from Latin pallor, from pallere "be pale, turn pale," related to pallus "dark-colored, dusky," from PIE root *pel- (1) "pale."
[P]aleness in the Mediterranean is not so much the lack of color as a sickly, yellowish, sallow complexion, compared here to the hue of a gilded bronze statue. Sappho compared it to the color of dead grass. [Daniel H. Garrison, note on pallidor in poem 81 in "The Student's Catullus, 2nd ed., 1995]