, Quintius, a Roman actor, was born at Lanuvium, and became so celebrated on the stage that every actor of superior eminence to his contemporaries has been since called a Roscius. It is said that he was not without some personal defects; particularly his eyes were so distorted that he always appeared on the stage with a mask; but the Romans frequently obliged him to take it off, and overlooked the deformities of his face, that they might the better hear his elegant pronunciation. In private life he was so much esteemed as to be raised to the rank of senator. When falsely accused, Cicero, who had been one of his pupils, undertook his defence, and cleared him of the malevolent aspersions of his enemies, in an elegant oration extant in his works. Roscius wrote a treatise, which, however, has not descended to our times, comparing with great success and learning, the profession of the orator with that of the comedian. He died about 61 before Christ. His daily pay for acting is said to have been 1000 denarii, or 32l. 6s. of our money, though Cicero makes his yearly income amount to the enormous sum of 48,434l. 10s.

Dr. Burney observes, that there are several passages in Cicero concerning Roscius, which, if the ancient actors, Romans as well as Greeks, did not declaim in musical notes, would be wholly unintelligible. He tells us (de Orat), that Roscius had always said, when age should diminish his force, he would not abandon the stage, but would proportion his performance to his powers, and make music conform to the weakness of his voice; which really happened: for the same author informs us (de Leg.), that in his old age he sung in a lower pitch of voice, and made the tibicines play slower. As there were combats, or contests, established by the ancients for the voice, as well as for other parts of the Gymnastice those who taught the management of the voice were called φονασχοι, phonasci; and under their instructions were put all those who were destined to be orators, singers, and comedians. Roscius had an academy for declamation, at which he taught several persons, preparatory to their speaking in public, or going on the stage. These are proofs sufficient of the dramatic declamation of the ancients being uttered in | mumusical tones, agreeing with those of the musical instruments by which they were accompanied. 1


Ciceron. Opera.—Moreri.—Burney in Rees’s Cyclopædia.