Question: What marble image of a man’s head will bite your hand off if you tell a lie?
Answer: The Bocca della Verità (The Mouth of Truth), a large stone mask in the portico wall of the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome, Italy. Dating back to about the 4th century BCE, it is thought to be a representation of a river god, and might once have been part of an ancient Roman fountain, although some historians think it was just a drain cover. Whatever its origin, it is supposed to judge the statements of anyone who places a hand inside its open mouth and snap the hand off if the person is lying. Despite the risk, countless tourists line up every day to try it!
It’s not the only sculpture in the world that doles out retribution to liars, however. A lion statue in Mahabalipuram, India (Tamil Nadu region) is said to do the same thing.
And while on the subject of truth, some of what people regard as historical fact is actually not, as Australian writer, Barbara Gaskell Denvil, points out in her blog post, ‘What is Truth?’
For some more historical myths, you can also check out