View Full Version : Historical terminology?

09-01-2009, 07:09 PM
I'm looking for a word for the area outside of a walled city, like a medeival city. Outside the gate would be overflow housing, usually spreading out down the main road that leads to the city. In my historical reference (french) it uses the term fauxbourgh, which roughly means suburb, but I'm not completely happy with either of those words (one too archaic, the other too modern).

Any suggestions for what to call this housing area?

09-01-2009, 07:16 PM
hamlet or village?

09-01-2009, 07:33 PM
Suburb comes from from "sub urba" meaning below the city where most of the ordinary people lived in Ancient Rome, so it is not all that modern. Sometimes the areas outside city walls were slums, would that be appropriate?

09-02-2009, 12:03 AM
ex mura - outside the walls?

Smiling Ted
09-02-2009, 09:06 PM
A "fauxbourgh" would literally mean a "false town" - an interesting indication of how people thought of the area.

Instead of giving it a general name, how about giving it a specific neighborhood name, like "Newstead" or "Exmoor" (ex mura)?

09-02-2009, 09:10 PM

As in:

Main Entry: hinĚterĚland
Pronunciation: \ˈhin-tər-ˌland, -lənd\
Function: noun
Etymology: German, from hinter hinder + Land
Date: 1890
1 : a region lying inland from a coast
2 a : a region remote from urban areas b : a region lying beyond major metropolitan or cultural centers

09-02-2009, 09:59 PM
The term would have been different in different times and places. The Roman term was "sub urbis". In Medieval times the suburbs were called various things, but there was a great effort to keep everything inside the walls. Walled towns had privileges that did not apply to areas outside the walls. Keeping the area immediately around the walls clear was also important for defense. Buildings against or near the wall could be used by attackers. Generally the first outlying villages were a few miles from the walled town, far enough that it would be inconvenientto walk the distance several times a day.

09-04-2009, 01:46 AM
The usual spelling in English is 'faubourg'. It's not a common word, but it is the exact term for what you're trying to describe.