The mouth of truth
Many stories surround this ancient monument, from being a water drainage cover to a medieval time revenge tool for unfaithful spouses and thieves. The Mouth of Truth stands through time, luring in visitors from around the world, to try their luck and see if their better half are truthful and faithful.
The Mouth of Truth is a round shape mask, made from the finest ancient marble, which originated from Docimium in Frigia (modern-day Turkey), this massive reminder of the multiple deity belief systems in Ancient Roman times, can have a lifetime impact on you when you see it.
It is a face of a god Oceanus who was the ruler of water, including rivers and seas.
When you look closely it has a man with beautiful hair and beard, decorated with two dolphin heads on the top and fish on the sides. This truth machine also has piercing eyes with openings and gaping mouth ready to testify. Its diameter is 175 cm and has 1200 Kg.
Believed to be over 2200 years old it was mentioned in a Hollywood movie which made it extremely popular back in 1953 called “Roman Holiday” where a couple wants to determine if they are not lying to each other.
The real stories are those who survive the test of time, and we can say for certain that this following is genuine.
Betrayed husband is rushing through the Forum Boarium (the merchant market), with his wife, holding her wrist so tightly, almost dragging her along. He has heard the rumours that she has an affair, and her lover was caught. They arrive at the Temple of Hercules Victor where the Mouth of was so they can confess, and the truth be reviled to all. Executioner was already summoned and is waiting on the other end of the representation of powerful god Oceanus. The wife swore in from of the Mouth of Truth that she has been wrongly accused and hasn’t been with any other man than places her hand inside gods mouth for his judgment. The executioner cut off her hand with a sharp sword, confirming that she has lied. Some parents still warn their children today that they will take them to The Mouth of Truth, and it will cut off their hands if they misbehave.
In 1632 Bocca della Verita (the Mouth of Truth) got transferred to Piazza della Bocca della Veritá and stands in the entrance way of Basilica Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Ripa area of Rome.
Either if it was used to determine truth, punish unfaithful deceivers or to drain the blood from the sacrifice to God Hercules at the cattle market, it is a site to look upon and marvel the beauty of the artist that made it.
Please join us next time where we discover St. Peter’s Basilica and Christmas in Rome!
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