This page cannot be viewed in frames

Go to page

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Mouth of truth – Roman medallion

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

The mouth of truth - a Roman medallion
Mouth of truth - Roman medallion

The “Mouth of Truth” is a Roman marble medallion showing the image of a Roman bearded deity with an open mouth. The object has a diameter of about 1.75 meters and weighs 1.3 t.

The object is believed to have been able to function as an entrance to the sewer of Rome (near the Temple of Hercules) on the Forum Boarium, be part of a fountain or sarcophagus.

It is still not identified what the deity is shown on the medallion. Scientists suspect Mercury, Fauna, Jupiter or the Greek Triton and Oceanos.

In medieval times there was a legend saying that a lying person who puts his hand in the deity’s mouth would lose it. This myth has become so popular that the medallion has become a real tourist curiosity with which tourists often take a picture. It stands against the left wall of the portico of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin church in Rome.

  • Bożena Fabiani, Rzym. Wędrówki z historią w tle, Warszawa 2018

IMPERIUM ROMANUM needs your support!

Your financial help is needed, in order to maintain and develop the website. Even the smallest amounts will allow me to pay for further corrections, improvements on the site and pay the server. I believe that I can count on a wide support that will allow me to devote myself more to my work and passion, to maximize the improvement of the website and to present history of ancient Romans in an interesting form.


News from world of ancient Rome

If you want to be up to date with news and discoveries from the world of ancient Rome, subscribe to the newsletter.

Subscribe to newsletter!

Roman bookstore

I encourage you to buy interesting books about the history of ancient Rome and antiquity.

Check out bookstore

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: