Word of The Day for Saturday, May 14, 2011


rosc•i•an (ROSH-ee-uhn)  adj

of or related to acting


after Quintus Roscius Gallus (c.126-62 BCE), a Roman actor famous for his talent in acting

Sentence Examples:
• He was again a man with a wrong, a lover dispossessed. On the instant his veins filled with passionate blood. The Roscian strain in him had its own tragic force and reality. - The World For Sale, Gilbert Parker

• I took what Joe gave me, and found it to be the crumpled play-bill of a small metropolitan theatre, announcing the first appearance, in that very week, of "the celebrated Provincial Amateur of Roscian renown, whose unique performance in the highest tragic walk of our National Bard has lately occasioned so great a sensation in local dramatic circles." - Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

• But the whole point of the scene is lost unless the First Player, reciting that great speech, seem to outclass his Prince as an actor. His performance must be a revelation of what a big emotional histrion can do, something absolutely Roscian. - Talking of Shakespeare, John Garrett


Endowed with a handsome face and manly figure, Quintus Roscius Gallus studied the delivery and gestures of the most distinguished advocates in the Forum, especially Q Hortensius, and won universal praise for his grace and elegance on the stage. He especially excelled in comedy. Cicero took lessons from him. The two often engaged in friendly rivalry to try whether the orator or the actor could express a thought or emotion with the greater effect, and Roscius wrote a treatise in which he compared acting and oratory. Q. Lutatius Catulus composed a quatrain in his honour, and the dictator Sulla presented him with a gold ring, the badge of the equestrian order, a remarkable distinction for an actor in Rome, where the profession was held in contempt.

Like his contemporary Aesopus, Roscius amassed a large fortune, and he appears to have retired from the stage some time before his death. In 76 BC he was sued by C. Fannius Chaerea for 50,000 sesterces, and was defended by Cicero in a famous speech.

Sources: WordSmith

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