Roman

Roman

[raw-mahn]
Jakobson, Roman, 1896-1982, Russian-American linguist and literary critic, b. Moscow. He coined the term structural linguistics and stressed that the aim of historical linguistics is the study not of isolated changes within a language but of systematic change. In Czechoslovakia in the late 1920s and the 30s, Jakobson and a few colleagues, most notably N. S. Trubetzkoy, developed what came to be known as the Prague school of linguistics. They argued that synchronic phonology, the study of speech sounds in a language at a given time, must be considered in light of diachronic phonology, the study of speech sounds as they have changed over the course of the language's history. After leaving Czechoslovakia in 1939, Jakobson went on to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden before coming to the United States to teach at Columbia Univ. (1943-49) and later Harvard (1949-67); at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1957-67) he worked with Morris Halle on distinctive-feature theory, developing a binary system that defines a speech sound by the presence or absence of specific phonetic qualities, such as stridency and nasality. Through his contact with French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss and others, Jakobson was influential in the development of structuralism.

See his Six Lectures on Sound and Meaning (1978); Framework of Language (1980).

Polanski, Roman, 1933-, Polish-French film director, b. Paris. His family returned to Kraków, Poland, when he was three. His parents were imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps and his mother died at Auschwitz, but Polanski, living partly on his own, escaped the Holocaust. He began to act after the war and later (1954-59) studied filmmaking in Łódź, where he made a number of notable shorts, e.g., Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958). His first feature-length work, the Polish-language Knife in the Water (1962), a sexually charged psychological drama, brought him international acclaim. From his earliest efforts and throughout his career, Polanski has exhibited a taste for dramatic situations presented with a cool lack of sentimentality and marked by unexpected violence and a sense of irony, black humor, and isolation and dread. Moving to England, he made three films, the best known of which is the intense, erotic, and terrifying Repulsion (1965).

Polanski went on to Hollywood in 1968 and that year made his American debut with the horror classic Rosemary's Baby, his greatest commercial success. In 1969 his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, and a group of their friends were murdered by members of the Charles Manson "family." Subsequently, Polanski settled in France but returned to the States to make the award-winning noir detective thriller Chinatown (1974). After pleading guilty to statutory rape in 1977, he fled (1978) before sentencing to France, where he had become (1976) a citizen, and has not returned to the United States. In 2009 he was arrested in Switzerland on an outstanding warrant arising from the case.

Polanski later made a number of films including Tess (1980), based on a Thomas Hardy novel; the thriller Frantic (1988); the erotically compelling Bitter Moon (1992); and Death and the Maiden (1994), based on an Ariel Dorfman play. After a few largely forgettable films, he directed The Pianist (2002), a brooding, intimate, and fear-haunted drama based on the true story of a Holocaust survivor, for which Polanski received an Academy Award. He also has acted in and written screenplays for a number of his films.

See his autobiography (1984); biographies by T. Kiernan (1981), V. W. Wexman (1985), and C. Sandford (2008); studies by I. Butler (1970), B. Leaming (1981), J. Parker (1993), and D. Bird (2001); A. Corcetti, dir., Roman Polanski: Reflections of Darkness (documentary, 2000); M. Zenovich, dir., Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (documentary, 2008).

senate, Roman, governing council of the Roman republic. It was the outgrowth of the council of the kings. By the 3d cent. B.C. the senate was a group of 300 men with a high degree of political, legislative, and administrative power at Rome. There were serious checks on its power, especially in the hands of the tribunes. The members were chosen by the censors and included theoretically the best citizens; but as it worked out, the senate consisted of ex-magistrates, almost entirely members of a small number of old families from either the patrician or plebeian classes. Membership was usually for life. In the expansion of Rome in the 3d and 2d cent. B.C. the senate sent out the armies, made the treaties, organized the new domain, and controlled finance. The senatorial conduct of Roman affairs was fairly successful until c.130 B.C. After that the senate's provincial administration of the huge empire was increasingly inefficient and graft-ridden. However, the authority of the senate was not called into question until the growth of party-class division that developed with the agitation of the Gracchi. The leaders of the senate became also the leaders of the most reactionary group and would yield on no point, economic or political. The fatal development in the republic of two parties, optimates (the senatorial conservatives) and populares, grew out of this resistance to change. The optimates tried to foster the idea that they represented constitutionalism versus subversion, but after Sulla, who combined the bloodiest illegality with the strictest defense of the senate (which he raised to 600 members), such a claim by optimates was hypocritical and cynical. Caesar enlarged the number of the senate to 900. The ruin of the optimates and the senate was accomplished in the proscription of 43 B.C. after Caesar's assassination. After the proscription what was left of the senate was docile and ineffectual. Augustus lowered the number to 600. As an administrator he found he had to reduce senatorial control in the provinces. Under the principate the senate became a somewhat less hereditary body and gradually came to include provincials from most regions of the empire. It continued to include many of the empire's leading soldiers and administrators, until it lost much influence in the troubles of the 3d cent. A.D. In the later Roman Empire, it retained some prestige, but very little power. Under Byzantine rule in the 6th cent., the senate disappeared.

See M. Gelzer, The Roman Nobility (1969); R. J. A. Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984).

Vishniac, Roman, 1897-1990, Russian-American biologist, photographer, linguist, art historian, and philosopher, b. Pavlosk, near St. Petersburg. Vishniac took degrees in medicine, philosophy, art history, and biology. He fled in 1920 to Berlin, where he conducted research in endocrinology and worked as a photojournalist. From 1933 to 1939 he produced a photographic record of Jewish communities in Central and Western Europe. A part of this unique humanitarian document was published in 1947 under the title Polish Jews. In the mid-1930s he was imprisoned 11 times and forced to do hard labor in two concentration camps. He escaped and emigrated to the United States in 1940. At Yeshiva Univ. he was appointed research associate (1957) at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and became professor of biological education there in 1961. A pioneer in time-lapse cinematography and light-interruption photography as well as the color photomicroscopy of living organisms, Vishniac became, in 1960, project director and filmmaker for the Living Biology film series sponsored by the National Science Foundation. His chief biological researches were in the field of marine microbiology, the physiology of ciliates, and circulation systems in unicellular plants. He proposed the hypothesis that the first living organisms were multicellular structures that emerged many times in many places by different biochemical pathways (polyphyletic origin). A volume of his color microphotographs of proteins, vitamins, and hormones, Building Blocks of Life, was published in 1971. Widely read and fluent in most modern and ancient European and Asian languages, Vishniac was a specialist in East Asian art and philosophy. He taught in several fields at many universities, including the City Univ. of New York, Pratt Institute, and Case Western Reserve Univ.
roman: see type.
Roman, town (1990 pop. 78,749), NE Romania, in Moldavia, at the confluence of the Prut and Siretul rivers. Sugar refining and the manufacture of building materials are the chief industries. The town was founded in the late 14th cent. by the ruling prince of Moldavia.

roman à clef(French; “novel with a key”)

Novel that has the extraliterary interest of portraying identifiable people more or less thinly disguised as fictional characters. The tradition dates to 17th-century France, when members of aristocratic literary coteries included in their historical romances representations of well-known figures in the court of Louis XIV. A more recent example is W. Somerset Maugham's Cakes and Ale (1930), widely held to portray Thomas Hardy and Hugh Walpole. A more common type of roman à clef is one in which the disguised characters are easily recognized only by a few insiders, as in Simone de Beauvoir's The Mandarins (1954).

Learn more about roman à clef with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Typeface used most widely in Western typography, the general term for the type of this book's text. Characterized by simple, unembellished shapes, roman was developed by 15th-century printers as an alternative to the heavy-bodied, spiky black letter script. Models for a new type that was easier to cut and read were found in the scriptoria, where scribes, probably at the urging of humanist scholars, were experimenting with a letter face they believed had been used in ancient Rome. Historians now trace its ancestry instead to the letter forms developed for Charlemagne's decrees by Alcuin in the 9th century. Within a century, roman had superseded all other typefaces throughout Europe; the sole exception was Germany, where black letter continued to hold sway into the 20th century.

Learn more about roman with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Type of avant-garde novel that departs from traditional novelistic conventions by ignoring such elements as plot, dialogue, and human interest. Seeking to overcome readers' habits and challenge their expectations, antinovelists deliberately avoid any intrusion of authorial personality, preferences, or values. Though the term was coined by Jean-Paul Sartre in 1948, the approach is at least as old as the works of the 18th-century writer Laurence Sterne. Writers of such works include Nathalie Sarraute, Claude Simon, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Uwe Johnson, and Rayner Heppenstall.

Learn more about antinovel with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Religious beliefs of the Romans from ancient times until official acceptance of Christianity in the 4th century AD. The Romans believed that everything was subordinate to the rule of the gods, and the object of their religion was to secure divine cooperation and benevolence. Prayer and sacrifice were used to propitiate the gods and were often carried out at temples dedicated to particular divinities and presided over by priests (see flamen). The chief Roman priest, head of the state religion, was known as the pontifex maximus; notable among the other groups of priests were the augurs, who practiced divination to determine whether the gods approved of an action. The earliest Roman gods were the sky god Jupiter, the war god Mars, and Quirinus; other important early gods were Janus and Vesta. Many other deities were borrowed from Greek religion or associated with Greek gods, and the stories woven into Roman mythology were often taken directly from Greek mythology. Domestic shrines were devoted to divine ancestors or protectors, the Lares and Penates. Dead Roman emperors were also raised to the status of divinities and were regarded with veneration and gratitude.

Learn more about Roman religion with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Law of the Roman Republic and Empire. Roman law has influenced the development of law in most of Western civilization. It dealt with matters of succession (or inheritance), obligations (including contracts), property (including slaves), and persons. Most laws were passed by assemblies dominated by the patrician families, though the rulings of magistrates were also important. Later emperors bypassed these forms and issued their own decrees. The interpretations of jurists also came to have the weight of law. Though various attempts were made to gather and simplify existing laws (beginning with the Law of the Twelve Tables), by far the most successful effort was that of Justinian I, whose code superseded all previous laws and formed the Roman Empire's legal legacy (see Code of Justinian). Roman legal procedure is the basis for modern procedure in civil-law countries. In the early Republic, the plaintiff was required to call the defendant to court or to bring him by force. A magistrate then decided whether the case should go before a judex, or prominent layman. The judex heard arguments from advocates and questioned witnesses; he made a decision but had no power to execute it. In the later Republic, much greater power was placed in the hands of the magistrates and courts: the summons was issued by the court, the trial was held only before a magistrate, and the court became responsible for the execution of the sentence.

Learn more about Roman law with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Aug. 18, 1933, Paris, France) Polish-French film director. He grew up in Poland and survived a traumatic wartime childhood under the Nazis. His first feature film, Knife in the Water (1962), brought him international fame. He left Poland that year for Britain, where he made Repulsion (1965), and later the U.S., where his Rosemary's Baby (1968) was highly successful. In 1969 his new wife, the actress Sharon Tate, was murdered by followers of Charles Manson. He directed a graphic adaptation of Macbeth (1971) and the acclaimed film noir Chinatown (1974). In 1977 Polanski was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to a charge of statutory rape. He subsequently jumped bail and fled to France, where he remained active in both the theatre and motion pictures. His subsequent films include Tess (1979), Frantic (1988), Bitter Moon (1992), Death and the Maiden (1994), and The Pianist (2002), which won the Gold Palm for best film at the Cannes International Film Festival and earned a best director Academy Award for Polanski.

Learn more about Polanski, Roman with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Oct. 11, 1896, Moscow, Russia—died July 18, 1982, Boston, Mass., U.S.) Russian-born U.S. linguist. Born and educated in Moscow, Jakobson moved to Prague in 1920; the European political situation forced him to flee to Scandinavia in 1938 and to the U.S. in 1941. He taught at Harvard University (1949–67). His interests ranged from folk epics and the cultural history of the Slavs to general phonology, the morphology of the Slavic languages, and speech acquisition. His preoccupation with contrast and opposition is reflected in his analysis of the Russian case system (1938), a brilliant analysis of the Russian verbal system (1948), and preeminently in his work on distinctive features in phonology.

Learn more about Jakobson, Roman (Osipovich) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Oct. 11, 1896, Moscow, Russia—died July 18, 1982, Boston, Mass., U.S.) Russian-born U.S. linguist. Born and educated in Moscow, Jakobson moved to Prague in 1920; the European political situation forced him to flee to Scandinavia in 1938 and to the U.S. in 1941. He taught at Harvard University (1949–67). His interests ranged from folk epics and the cultural history of the Slavs to general phonology, the morphology of the Slavic languages, and speech acquisition. His preoccupation with contrast and opposition is reflected in his analysis of the Russian case system (1938), a brilliant analysis of the Russian verbal system (1948), and preeminently in his work on distinctive features in phonology.

Learn more about Jakobson, Roman (Osipovich) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Group of Vatican bureaus that assist the pope in exercising his jurisdiction over the Roman Catholic Church. The work of the Curia is traditionally associated with the College of Cardinals. A cardinal named as secretary of state coordinates the activities of the Curia, and various sacred congregations handle administrative matters—for example, the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints is concerned with beatification and canonization and with the preservation of relics. The judicial branch of the Curia consists of three tribunals, of which the highest is the Apostolic Signatura.

Learn more about Roman Curia with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Aug. 18, 1933, Paris, France) Polish-French film director. He grew up in Poland and survived a traumatic wartime childhood under the Nazis. His first feature film, Knife in the Water (1962), brought him international fame. He left Poland that year for Britain, where he made Repulsion (1965), and later the U.S., where his Rosemary's Baby (1968) was highly successful. In 1969 his new wife, the actress Sharon Tate, was murdered by followers of Charles Manson. He directed a graphic adaptation of Macbeth (1971) and the acclaimed film noir Chinatown (1974). In 1977 Polanski was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to a charge of statutory rape. He subsequently jumped bail and fled to France, where he remained active in both the theatre and motion pictures. His subsequent films include Tess (1979), Frantic (1988), Bitter Moon (1992), Death and the Maiden (1994), and The Pianist (2002), which won the Gold Palm for best film at the Cannes International Film Festival and earned a best director Academy Award for Polanski.

Learn more about Polanski, Roman with a free trial on Britannica.com.

German Heiliges Römisches Reich

Realm of varying extent in medieval and modern western and central Europe. Traditionally believed to have been established by Charlemagne, who was crowned emperor by Pope Leo III in 800, the empire lasted until the renunciation of the imperial h1 by Francis II in 1806. The reign of the German Otto I (the Great; r. 962–973), who revived the imperial h1 after Carolingian decline, is also sometimes regarded as the beginning of the empire. The name Holy Roman Empire (not adopted until the reign of Frederick I Barbarossa) reflected Charlemagne's claim that his empire was the successor to the Roman Empire and that this temporal power was augmented by his status as God's principal vicar in the temporal realm (parallel to the pope's in the spiritual realm). The empire's core consisted of Germany, Austria, Bohemia, and Moravia. Switzerland, the Netherlands, and northern Italy sometimes formed part of it; France, Poland, Hungary, and Denmark were initially included, and Britain and Spain were nominal components. From the mid-11th century the emperors engaged in a great struggle with the papacy for dominance, and, particularly under the powerful Hohenstaufen dynasty (1138–1208, 1212–54), they fought with the popes over control of Italy. Rudolf I became the first Habsburg emperor in 1273, and from 1438 the Habsburg dynasty held the throne for centuries. Until 1356 the emperor was chosen by the German princes; thereafter he was formally elected by the electors. Outside their personal hereditary domains, emperors shared power with the imperial diet. During the Reformation the German princes largely defected to the Protestant camp, opposing the Catholic emperor. At the end of the Thirty Years' War, the Peace of Westphalia (1648) recognized the individual sovereignty of the empire's states; the empire thereafter became a loose federation of states and the h1 of emperor principally honorific. In the 18th century, issues of imperial succession resulted in the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War. The greatly weakened empire was brought to an end by the victories of Napoleon. Seealso Guelphs and Ghibellines; Investiture Controversy; Concordat of Worms.

Learn more about Holy Roman Empire with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Roman or Romans may refer to:

See also

Note: the following entries are arranged in an etymological tree.

Search another word or see Romanon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature