What does the term free mean?

What does "outlawed" actually mean?

Contrary to what you might think, "outlawless" does not mean: free as a bird! It means pretty much the complete opposite ...

In the Middle Ages, many businesses were still sealed with a handshake and oath. Most people couldn't read or write at all, so they couldn't get a written contract.

Nonetheless, handshake contracts were also binding, and there was an equally binding law that protected the two contracting parties from fraud and worse. And the king or the emperor watched over this personally.

If someone broke a contract because he did not keep the agreement, the king or emperor could have him thrown in jail or ban him if, for example, the contract breaker had already fled. Then it was considered an outlaw and could be hunted, caught or even killed by anyone.

Nobody was allowed to feed the outlaw or give him shelter, or he made himself a criminal offense. Everything was allowed to be taken away from the outlaw, his wife was officially declared a widow. Someone was considered outlawed in his own country. If he managed to escape to another country, he would have saved himself.

But it was also possible that the king or emperor withdrew the freedom of birds or that the convicted person repaired the damage he had caused.


So "bird-free" was a pretty dangerous state and had absolutely nothing to do with the freedom of a bird!
Ah!