Santa Maria in Cosmedin
The Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin was erected in the place where the ancient Temple of Hercules was located. In 1893, during excavations on the church grounds, ancient fragments of antiquity were discovered. Archaeologists mistook them for parts of the Altar of Hercules, erected on the site where Hercules once performed one of his exploits.
Through the mouth of truth
This temple is located in one of the most beautiful places on the left bank of the Tiber, overlooking the Boar Forum, where in ancient times there was a lively trade in livestock. When visiting Rome, many tourists rush to see the extraordinary marble hatch, which depicts the pagan sea god Triton with his mouth half-open. This exhibit is more than two thousand years old and is kept in the gallery of the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Luke is called the "Mouth of Truth", and he became a celebrity following the release of the movie "Roman Holiday". The ancient Romans considered it a lie detector for unfaithful husbands and wives. There is a belief that if someone who puts his hand in the opening deceives his marriage partner, then the motionless mouth will instantly tear off his hand.
The Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin is characterized by a slightly inclined seven-tier high campanile. Tourists compare it with the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The church received the name "Cosmedin" (in Greek - beautiful) during the service of Greek monks in it. Today it is difficult to talk about the rich decoration of the church, but in those ancient times it was probably truly beautiful.
The Church was renewed several times: at the origins of the 12th and 19th centuries. It does not stand out for its luxurious decoration, but there is a “shadow of the past” in it. The temple was built in the style of Romanesque architecture, which emerged in Western Europe in the middle of the 11th century. It was typical for builders of that time to build monasteries that looked like fortresses. Beauty was of secondary importance. Main. So that the walls are strong and strong. The interior has many vaults and arches with a semicircular appearance.
In one of the altars of the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin there is the skull of St. Valentine. It is decorated with flowers and is a wonderful sight. It is in his honor that all lovers celebrate their holiday on February 14.
According to legend, Saint Valentine served in the temple with the title of priest in the 3rd century AD. during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. Legend has it that Valentine secretly married young couples at a time when in the country men free from “marital ties” were considered the best soldiers. And Valentin’s actions were considered sabotage against the emperor’s policies, and he was executed.
The small square in front of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin was the place of execution. A guillotine was built here. The execution of the sentence was a fact so sad that the name of the last state executioner, Mastro Titta, went down in history. According to documents, over the course of 70 years, he took the lives of 516 people.
The Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin is the greatest creation of mankind, built by the ancient Romans as evidence of the existence of the Great Empire.