While researching places in Italy that I will be using in my book series, The Crystal Crux, I happened upon something I will probably use – giving it a minor mention and role – the Mouth of Truth – Bocca della Verita.
History is an interesting spectacle and superstition creates many interesting twists of fate.
The Mouth of Truth, a marbled mask weighing over a ton, located today in a portico on the north side of a Church in Rome, the Santa Maria in Cosmedin, is said to bite off the hand of anyone who lies.
I didn’t know it at first but the Mouth of Truth got a moment of fame, appearing in the Gregory Peck-Audrey Hepburn film, Roman Holiday. (1953)
The structure is believed to be nothing more than the exit of an ancient drainpipe, perhaps for water, maybe for blood from Roman cattle merchant sacrifices.
Either way, there is no actual recounting of a person actually losing their hand to the Mouth of Truth But for superstitious people of ancient times, it had an effect and the legend was passed down, making for interesting story writing now.
Here is a clip of the Mouth of Truth from the film Roman Holiday.
Link to Roman Holiday clip
Be sure to check out The Crystal Crux series.