rostrum

Definitions

Media Studies

  • noun a bench used for filming an object such as a map, on which it can be held securely and lit evenly
  • noun a platform, stand or raised area supporting a film or television camera

Medical

  • noun a projecting part of a bone or structure shaped like a beak

Politics

  • noun a high desk where a member stands to speak to an assembly or meeting

Theater

  • Any platform used to create different levels of staging. Knownin America as a parallel, it can be either permanent or collapsiblefor transport and storage. A rostrum usually has steps or a ramp andsometimes a canvas 'rostrum-front' to disguise the platform.

    In the late 19th century rostrums were used extensively bythe famous Meininger company to keep the action moving onseveral different levels. They can be especially effective on themodern open stage: the Stratford Festival Theatre in Ontario, Canada,employs eight acting levels.

Origin & History of “rostrum”

Latin rōstrum originally meant ‘beak’ or ‘muzzle of an animal’ – it was derived from the verb rōdere ‘gnaw’ (source of English corrode (14th c.), erode (17th c.), and rodent (19th c.)). The word was also applied metaphorically to the ‘beaklike’ prows of ships. In 338 bc the platform for public speakers in the forum in Rome was adorned with the prows of ships captured from Antium (modern Anzio), and so in due course all such platforms came to be known as rostra – whence the English word.
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