E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A first-rate actor; so called from the Roman Roscius, unrivalled for his grace of action, melody of voice, conception of character, and delivery. He was paid thirty pounds a day for acting; Pliny says four thousand a year, and Cicero says five thousand.
What scene of death hath Roscius now to act?
Shakespeare: 3 Henry VI., v. 6.
Another Roscius. So Camden terms Richard Burbage (15661619).
The British Roscius. Thomas Betterton, of whom Cibber says, He alone was born to speak what only Shakespeare knew to write. (16351710.)
David Garrick (17161779).
The Roscius of France. Michel Boyron, generally called Baron. (16531729.)
The Young Roscius. William Henry West Betty, who in fifty-six nights realised £34,000. (Died 1874, aged 84.)