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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: August ::
Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare as Roscius
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1611  Wednesday, 13 August 2003

From:           Terry Ross <
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Date:           Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 09:05:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare as Roscius

The latest issue of *Shakespeare Matters* contains an essay by Paul
Altrocchi that presents what may be a hitherto unnoticed contemporary
reference to Shakespeare as an actor.  The annotation is in a Huntington
Library copy of the 1590 edition of William Camden's *Britannia*, and it
is a comment on a passage about Stratford, which (in the translation
from Camden's Latin that appears in Altrocchi's essay) "owes all of its
reputation to its two foster sons, John of Stratford, the Archbishop of
Canterbury, who built the church, and Hugh Clopton, the magistrate of
London who began the stone bridge over the Avon supported by fourteen
arches, not without very great expense."

The word "alumnis" ("foster sons") in Camden has been underlined, and
this note has been written underneath: "& Guglielmo Shakespear Roscio
planh nostro." Altroccchi translates the note, "and certainly to our
Roscius, William Shakespeare."  The annotation in effect adds a third
Stratford "alumnus" to Camden's pair, John of Stratford and Hugh
Clopton.  In the annotator's opinion, the great actor William
Shakespeare certainly should be counted with John of Stratford and Hugh
Clopton as a Stratford notable.

According to Altrocchi, the Huntington's Mary Robertson believes that
characteristics of the handwriting "'suggest that our annotation was
most likely written between 1620 and 1650.'"

*Shakespeare Matters* is published by the Shakespeare Fellowship, which
is an organization primarily for those who believe that Shakespeare did
not and that the 17th earl of Oxford DID write the works generally
attributed to Shakespeare.  Atrocchi gives an Oxfordian spin to the
annotation, but if what he has found is indeed a hitherto unnoticed
contemporary reference to Shakespeare, his discovery itself may be of
considerable interest.  The Shakespeare Fellowship has made Altrocchi's
essay available at this URL:

http://www.shakespearefellowship.org/Newsletter/Latin_annotation.pdf

Terry Ross
SHAKESPEARE AUTHORSHIP home page
http://ShakespeareAuthorship.com

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