Quintus Roscius Gallus - Encyclopedia


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QUINTUS ROSCIUS GALLUS (c. 126-62 B.C.), Roman actor, was born, a slave, at Solonium, near Lanuvium. Endowed with a handsome face and manly figure, he 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 B.C. he was sued by C. Fannius Chaerea for 50,000 sesterces (about 400), and was defended by Cicero in a famous speech.

See H. H. Pfluger, Cicero's Rede pro Q. Roscio Comoedo (1904).

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