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The mouth of truth is a marble, round medallion with a diameter of 175 cm. Its name comes from medieval public mailboxes, where it was possible to leave anonymous information about the sinful deeds of others. The medallion represents a bearded old man who is identified with one of the deities. Theories say it could be Jupiter, Mercury or Faun. Medallion origin or function is not certain. It is suspected that it could serve as a cover for a water reservoir, well or sewer or to be part of a fountain. It is estimated that it can come from the first century.
The mouth of Truth is currently located in the vestibule of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. According to legend, whoever lies holding his hand in the mouth of truth, the deity will bite her off. In the Middle Ages, the mask was punished by cutting off the hand for false testimony and treason. The sculpture appeared in the movie "Roman Holiday" with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.