The talking statues of Rome acted as avatars for the voices of the people, the dissidents and outliers who the fell between the cracks of the Pope’s rule, that could voice their opinions by posting notes on these well-known marble figures. In the early 14th century the Pope ascended to power as King of the Roman Empire. In response to his seemingly limitless power, the Romans of the day created an early form of social media subversion that echoes through the centuries to today’s electronic media managed uprisings.
Satirical poems and polemics were posted on Pasquino, a weathered statue of Melanus King of Sparta from the 3rd century that was unearthed in the 14th centure. It was the first talking statue, now found in the eponymous Piazza del Pasquino. We named our Pasquino vacation rental after it. You can see the statue from the living room window.
Romans post notes on the pedestal or hang placards from the necks of the Talking Statues. Their satirical messages originally lampooned the Pope or the king. The tradition continues to this day as Romans still post messages on these famous statues about today’s politicians. The etymology of the word “pasquinade,” meaning public satire, is traced back to the name of the this statue.
What the Barbarians did not do
the Barberini did.
Marforio: Dimmi: che fai Pasquino? (Pasquino, tell me: what are you doing?)
Pasquino: Eh, guardo Roma, chè non vada a Urbino. (I watch over Rome, to make sure it’s not moved to Urbino.)
Our Archetto apartment is just a few steps away from Madama Lucrezia.