Sounds Similar

The ram's testicles arc a more unusual aspect of the image. Frances Yates, in her discussion on the subject, suggests that the Latin word for testicle (testicu-lus) would have reminded the lawyer of the word for witnesses (testes). In another part of Ad Herrenium, she points out, the author gives an example of an image ('Domitius raising his hands to heaven while he is lashed by the Marcii Reges') that is designed to remind the student of rhetoric of a particular sentence ('domum itionem reges"). The only obvious connection is in the sound of the words. I subscribe to this interpretation. When I am memorizing someone's name, for example, I often use images that include something that sounds similar to the person's name.

The reason why the testicles must belong to a ram is less clear; Yates suggests that it has something to do the with Aries and the signs of the Zodiac, the order of which was known to have been used as a mnemonic.

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