Who Is Janus?
Janus is an ancient Roman, composite, obscure god who is associated with doorways, beginnings, and transitions. A usually two-faced god he looks to the future and the past. The concepts of January and janitor are both based on aspects of Janus.
Associated with doorways and gates, Janus is the god of beginnings. Since he looks both ways, the term Janus-faced is used to describe someone who is duplicitous. He is also considered the guardian of peace when the door to his shrine was closed.
The most famous temple to Janus in Rome, on the Argiletum, is called the Ianus Geminus‘Twin Janus’. When its doors were open, neighboring cities knew that Rome was at war. When the doors were closed, Rome was at peace. In his account of his accomplishments, Augustus says the gateway doors were closed only twice before him, by Numa (235 B.C.) and Manlius (30 B.C.). Augustus closed them 3 times, in 29 after Actium, in 25, and a debated third time.There were other temples for Janus, one on his hill, the Janiculum, and another built, in 260 at the Forum Holitorium, by C. Duilius for a Punic War naval victory.
Janus in Art:
Janus is usually shown with two faces, one looking forward and the other backward as through a gateway. Sometimes one face is clean-shaven and the other bearded. Sometimes Janus is depicted with four faces overlooking four forums. He may hold a staff.
The Family of Janus:
Camese, Jana and Juturna were wives of Janus. Janus was the father of Tiberinus and Fontus.
History of Janus:
Janus, the ruler of Latium, was responsible for the Golden Age and brought money and agriculture to the area. He is associated with trade, streams and springs. He could have been an early sky god.
JANUS IN THE MOVIE
THE TOURIST SOUNDTRACK
-No fear of heights-Katie Melua-