Words: Testimony, n.

PRESIDENT CLINTON's interrogation last week by the Spermfinder General brings irresistibly to mind a neat but dubious theory concerning an alleged link between the words testimony and testicle. As many collections of trivial information tell us, ancient Roman males, when taking an oath in court, would grasp the region of their nether appendages to attest to the truth of their evidence. That, they say, is what gave us the words testify and testimony.

Left embarrasses Berlusconi

FROM ANDREW GUMBEL

Essentials on the menu of success

On Excellence

Letter: Fascism's dangerous precedents in Italy

Sir: Patricia Clough describes the results of the Italian elections as a 'step (on) the road to normality'. The party of Italian fascism has received some five million votes, to a large extent on the basis of the respectability conferred on it by an alliance with two 'anti-party' parties. Anyone acquainted with Italian history will be aware of horrible precedents for this.

Letter: The end of the Roman empire

YOUR map illustrates quite clearly the northernmost extent of the Roman Empire as Hadrian's Wall ('Civilisations', Review, 24 January). I live some 50 metres from the line of the wall of Antoninus Pius. To quote from the first chapter of Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: 'This wall of Antoninus, at a small distance beyond the modern cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, was fixed as the limit of the Roman province.' This wall was occupied intermittently for most of the second century AD.
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