- The Roman comic actor Quintus Roscius Gallus (120 - 62 BC),who was unrivalled for his physical grace, melodic voice, and conception ofcharacter. The name was later bestowed as an accolade on anyactor considered to be the greatest of his nation or era. So, for example,both Thomas Betterton and David Garrick were described as the BritishRoscius and the Black American actor Ira Aldridge was known asthe African Roscius. The child prodigy William Betty, whocaused a theatrical sensation in the 1800s, was widely billed as theYoung Roscius.
The name was also used in the title of Charles Churchill'ssatirical poem The Rosciad (1761), which shocked the Londontheater with its savage mockery of nearly all the famous actors ofthe day.