38 Facts About Janus


Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict, and hence war and peace.

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Janus had no flamen or specialised priest assigned to him, but the King of the Sacred Rites himself carried out his ceremonies.

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Janus had a ubiquitous presence in religious ceremonies throughout the year.

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Janus has under his tutelage the stepping in and out of the door of homes, the ianua, which took its name from him, and not vice versa.

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Janus is present at the Sororium Tigillum, where he guards the terminus of the ways into Rome from Latium.

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Janus has an altar, later a temple near the Porta Carmentalis, where the road leading to Veii ended, as well as being present on the Janiculum, a gateway from Rome out to Etruria.

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In general, Janus is at the origin of time as the guardian of the gates of Heaven: Jupiter himself can move forth and back because of Janus's working.

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Janus is the initiator of human life, of new historical ages, and financial enterprises: according to myth he was the first to mint coins and the as, first coin of the liberal series, bears his effigy on one face.

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Janus frequently symbolized change and transitions such as the progress of past to future, from one condition to another, from one vision to another, and young people's growth to adulthood.

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Janus represented time because he could see into the past with one face and into the future with the other.

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Janus represented the middle ground between barbarism and civilization, rural and urban space, youth and adulthood.

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Numa in his regulation of the Roman calendar called the first month Januarius after Janus, according to tradition considered the highest divinity at the time.

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In wartime the gates of the Janus were opened, and in its interior sacrifices and vaticinia were held, to forecast the outcome of military deeds.

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Temple of Janus is said to have been consecrated by the consul Gaius Duilius in 260 BC after the Battle of Mylae in the Forum Holitorium.

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Janus is the first of the gods and thus their father: the formula quasi deorum deum corresponds to diuum deus of the carmen Saliare.

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The antithetical quality of the two epithets is meant to refer to the alterning opposite conditions and is commonly found in the indigitamenta: in relation to Janus, Macrobius cites instances of Antevorta and Postvorta, the personifications of two indigitations of Carmentis.

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Janus owes the epithet Iunonius to his function as patron of all kalends, which are associated with Juno.

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Janus was involved in spatial transitions, presiding over home doors, city gates and boundaries.

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Janus would have originally regulated particularly the crossing of this sacred river through the pons sublicius.

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However Janus was the protector of doors, gates and roadways in general, as is shown by his two symbols, the key and the staff.

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Rite of the bride's oiling the posts of the door of her new home with wolf fat at her arrival, though not mentioning Janus explicitly, is a rite of passage related to the ianua.

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Renard thinks that while Janus is the god of motion and transitions he is not concerned directly with purification, while the arch is more associated with Juno.

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Janus is often associated with fecundity in myths, representing the masculine principle of motion, while Juno represents the complementary feminine principle of fertility: the action of the first would allow the manifestation of the other.

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Macrobius relates that Janus was supposed to have shared a kingdom with Camese in Latium, in a place then named Camesene.

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The name itself proves that this is a secondary form of Fons modelled on Janus, denouncing the late character of this myth: it was probably conceived because of the proximity of the festivals of Juturna and the Agonium of Janus as well as for the presence of an altar of Fons near the Janiculum and the closeness of the notions of spring and of beginning.

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Plutarch writes that according to some Janus was a Greek from Perrhebia.

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Janus would have effected the miracle of turning the waters of the spring at the foot of the Viminal from cold to scorching hot to fend off the assault of the Sabines of king Titus Tatius, come to avenge the kidnapping of their daughters by the Romans.

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Janus's temple named Janus Geminus had to stand open in times of war.

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Janus was faithful to his liminal role in the marking of this last act.

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The elements that seem to connect Janus to sailing are presented in two articles by J Gage summarised here below.

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Janus is surnamed Mars tranquillus, Mars qui praeest paci .

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From other archaeological documents though it has become clear that the Etruscans had another god iconographically corresponding to Janus: Culsans, of which there is a bronze statuette from Cortona .

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Roman and Greek authors maintained Janus was an exclusively Roman god.

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Janus's abode is at the limits of Earth, at the extremity of Heaven; he is the protector of the gods; his birth is at the beginning of time; he is the forefather of mankind, the generator of classes and the founder of the social order.

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Nonetheless he is inferior to the sovereign god Oðinn: the Minor Voluspa defines his relationship to Oðinn almost with the same terms as those in which Varro defines that of Janus, god of the prima to Jupiter, god of the summa: Heimdallr is born as the firstborn, Oðinn is born as the greatest .

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The comune of Selvazzano di Dentro near Padua has a grove and an altar of Janus depicted on its standard, but their existence is unproved.

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Janus Society was an early homophile organization founded in 1962 and based in Philadelphia.

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Janus particles are engineered micro- or nano-scopic particles possessing two distinct faces which have distinct physical or chemical properties.

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