"The Mouth of Truth", or How in ancient times they denounced unfaithful wives

"The Mouth of Truth", or How in ancient times they denounced unfaithful wives

Categories: Culture | History | Society

To expose unfaithful spouses today, you have to hire special detectives and spend time, effort and money. But in the old days everything was much simpler and more efficient. It was possible to bring his wife to the surface with the help of a special device called "The Mouth of Truth". The method was not completely reliable, but it was so epic and spectacular that it inspired creative personalities for many centuries.

"The Mouth of Truth", or How in ancient times they denounced unfaithful wives

The stone bas-relief that covered the entrance to the famous Roman sewer was called the "Mouth of Truth". At the descent into the "Great Cloaca of Rome", an ancient sculptor carved the head of the god Triton out of marble, with his lips slightly open. The deity denounced those who lied. To do this, the subject had to put his hand in the mouth of the Newt and start talking.

If the person being tested was not honest, the stone mouth of the god was slammed shut, crushing the hand inside. If the truth sounded, then nothing happened. It was believed that most often husbands with wives suspected of adultery came to visit Triton. Of course, it was just a beautiful ancient legend. But she looked so romantic that she had a lot of fans.

"The Mouth of Truth", or How in ancient times they denounced unfaithful wives

It is well known that the "Mouth of Truth" inspired the German artist Lucas Cranach, who lived in the 15th and 16th centuries to create a painting of the same name. In the Renaissance, it was generally fashionable to write and sculpt based on ancient myths or biblical stories.

At the same time, due to lack of awareness or for some other reason, the heroes were depicted in medieval clothes. That is why a modern person inexperienced in the Renaissance may not recognize even Christ and the apostles in the characters dressed typically for the Middle Ages.

"The Mouth of Truth", or How in ancient times they denounced unfaithful wives

The same is the case with the painting by Lucas Cranach. The painter transferred the actions from antiquity to his own era, understandable to everyone, freely acting even with the "mouths" themselves. The canvas depicts not the head of a bearded ancient god, but a statue of a lion on a pedestal. It is a young woman who puts her hand into the lion's mouth.

The story depicted by the artist was very popular at the time. She tells about a lady who was forced to say that she did not cheat on her husband in the presence of her husband, the judge and numerous witnesses. The woman was suspected of treason for a reason. Her lover is present in the picture, dressed as a buffoon. He came specifically to save his passion from violence.

"The Mouth of Truth", or How in ancient times they denounced unfaithful wives

Legend has it that the unfaithful wife said that she was not touched by the hands of other men, except her husband and ... the fool. Just at this time, the buffoon lover playfully hugs her around the waist, making the statement absolutely true. The husband in black clothes looks at this fraud with a frown. His face shows that he suspected some kind of trick, but is too stupid to understand its essence.

But the two ladies in the background are most likely aware of the situation. So they smile a little. A judge in an ermine robe and a bishop are also standing next to the lady. They are discussing something animatedly, but it is clear that what is happening has not alerted them at all.

"The Mouth of Truth", or How in ancient times they denounced unfaithful wives

It is worth mentioning separately about the lion depicted in the picture. This is a real statue, made in the 12th century by order of Duke Henry of Saxony. This is the so—called Braunschweig lion - the only one of its kind, since after it was cast, the mold was destroyed. In the Middle Ages, this was very rarely done. The production of molds was a laborious process and therefore they tried to cast as many copies as possible in each.

"The Mouth of Truth", or How in ancient times they denounced unfaithful wives

Of course, the Brunswick Lion has never been used as a "Mouth of Truth". To see the original, it is worth watching the film "Roman Holidays", released in 1953. It shows a funny scene with a Newt and a couple in love.

The "Mouth of Truth" has been located since the 17th century in the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome. Scientists believe that this huge mask with a diameter of 1.75 meters and a weight of 1300 kg was made in the 1st century AD. Also, historians are almost certainly sure that in Ancient Rome the statue was not used for inspections, but served as an ordinary manhole cover.

"The Mouth of Truth", or How in ancient times they denounced unfaithful wives

Someone just came up with a beautiful bike, and it became popular. After that, already in the Middle Ages, unfaithful wives, thieves and perjurers began to be led to Triton.

Post News Article

Recent articles

What the Raelites believe — the most "scientific" sect in the world
What the Raelites believe — the most "scientific" sect in ...

In the modern world there are hundreds of sects, which consist of more than 60 million people. Among them there are both dangerous ...

15 facts about the cult film "Die Hard"
15 facts about the cult film "Die Hard"

On July 15, 1988, the film directed by John McTiernan "Die Hard" (English title — Die Hard) was released worldwide. This picture, ...

The journey on the road of life: expressive of classic photos of Elliott Erwitt
The journey on the road of life: expressive of classic photos ...

Life — it is a long journey, during which the changing environment and faces around, and the main character continues to go ...