Apuleius Metamorphoses 1, 1, 5 forensis: ‘foreign’ or ‘of the forum’

In Apul. Met. 1, 1, 5 exotici ac forensi<s> sermonis the word forensis means ‘foreign’ and not ‘belonging to the forum’. The former is required by the context: two coordinate adjectives linked with ac should convey a sense of similarity. The arguments raised against it are unfounded: (1) elsewhere in Apuleius the word refers to the forum — but in Met. 4, 13, 6 forensis was convincingly defended in the sense of ‘foreign’ by Armini; (2) the meaning ‘foreign’ is not attested until the end of the 4th century, i.e. 200 years after Apuleius — but a number of lexical units that first occur in the Metamorphoses are attested later only from the 4th century on; (3) its derivation from foris suggests a vulgar colloquialism — but the word was used in the sense of ‘being out of doors’ by Colum. XII praef. 4. Recent attempts to explain the word in both meanings at once are implausible: the idea of ‘the style of the Roman forum’ (from which the narrator deviates) is far-fetched, and it seems impossible to cram this sense into the perfectly clear pair of synonyms ‘coming from abroad and foreign’. Refs 45.

 Keyer. Apuleius Metamorphoses 1, 1, 5 forensis ‘foreign’ or ‘of the forum’