"You like being a liar, with pants constantly on fire?" - The Monarch
The picture is of me at Santa Maria in Cosmedin. This is where our class started our walk up the Aventine Hill. I walk by this church everyday on the way to and from class and there is always a line out front to do just what I am doing. My pensive posture and forced smile are a result of the legend that accompanies the large stone slab into which I am resting my left hand. The "Bocca della Verita" or "Mouth of Truth" is the ancient Roman equivalent of a lie detector. If you have been telling lies and you stick your hand in the stone mouth, it is said that the monument will bite your hand off (1). While I have no illusions about the inanimate nature of the piece of stone, it does appear entirely possible that the rock might break on someone having the same effect as biting. It is amusing to watch people get their picture taken at the monument. Few dwell for very long with their hand it its mouth.
1. Fiona Wild, ed., Eye Witness Travel Rome (London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1993), 2007 edition, 202.