Current issue: 53(4)
By the last times of the Roman Empire, a considerable part of the vast forest and wilderness areas of the northern provinces had come into the possession of the Emperor and other owners of large land areas. Such areas were called saltus. The kings of the Franks considered all inhabited lands as belonging to the crown, but contrary to the Roman Emperors, they reserved the right of hunting and fishing in these areas for themselves. As the concept saltus did not originally include a prohibition against outsiders’ right to hunt and fish, and as among the people saltus still meant forest-covered wilderness in general, a new term was needed for description of uninhabited areas belonging to the king including all rights of using them. The introduced term was forestis, a word the origin of which has been a subject of much contention. In the present writer’s opinon, the most probable solution is that the word forestis has been derived from the Latin foris (outside of; e.g. outside of inhabited areas or of free utilization) by means of the suffix -estis. This is against the rules of Classic Latin, but it is completely possible in the case of the Latin of the seventh century.
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