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William Shakespeare, "Our Roscius"



ALAN H. NELSON AND PAUL H. ALTROCCHI


The Huntington Library copy of the third edition of William Camden's Britannia (1590) contains a manuscript notation in Latin referring to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon as "our Roscius." The authors conclude that the annotation was written by Richard Hunt, vicar of Bishops Itchington, Warwickshire, probably during his tenure as vicar (1621–61). Hunt was an Oxford graduate whose family, properties, and social acquaintances link him to towns and villages in the vicinity of Stratford. By employing the term "our Roscius," Hunt apparently meant to characterize Shakespeare as a great actor; since "Roscian" was sometimes used in a broader sense, Hunt may also have meant to characterize Shakespeare as a playwright or, more generally, as a man of the theater.



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