A statue representing Janus Bifrons in the Vatican Museums

In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions,[1] thence also of gates, doors, doorways, endings and time. He is usually a two-faced god since he looks to the future and the past. The concepts of January and janitor are both based on aspects of Janus.



The etymologies proposed by the ancient fall into three categories: each of them bears implications about the nature of the god itself.[2]

The first one is grounded into a detail of the definition of Chaos given by Paul the Deacon: hiantem, hiare, be open, from which word Ianus would derive for the subtraction of the aspiration. This etymology is related to the notion of Chaos which would define the primordial nature of the god.[3] The idea of an association of the god to the Greek concept of Chaos looks contrived, as the initial function of Janus suffices to explain his place at the origin of time.[4]

Another etymology proposed by Nigidius Figulus is related by Macrobius[5]: Ianus would be both Apollo and Diana Iana, by the addition of a D for the sake of euphony. This explanation has been accepted by A. B. Cook and J. G. Frazer. It supports all the assimilation of Janus to the bright sky, the sun and the moon. It supposes a former *Dianus, formed on *dia- < *dy-eð(2) from IE root *dey- shine represented in Latin by dies day, Diovis and Iuppiter.[6] However the form Dianus postulated by Nigidius is not attested.

The interpretation of Janus as the god of beginnings and transitions is grounded onto a third etymology indicated by Cicero, Ovid and Macrobius which explains the name as Latin deriving it from the verb ire ("to go").[7] It has been conjectured to be derived from the Indo-European root meaning transitional movement (cf. Sanskrit "yana-" or Avestan "yah-", likewise with Latin "i-" and Greek "ei-".).[8] Iānus would then be an action name expressing the idea of going, passing, formed on the root *yā- < *y-eð(2)- theme II of the root *ey- go from which eō, ειμι.[9]

Other modern scholars object to an Indo-European etymology either from Dianus or from root *yā-.[10]

Theology and functions

While the fundamental nature of Janus is debated, the set of its functions may be seen as organized around a simple principle: in the view of most modern scholars that of presiding over all beginnings and transitions, whether abstract or concrete, sacred or profane.[11] Interpretations concerning the fundamental nature of the god either limit it to this general function itself or emphasize a concrete or particular aspect of it (identifying him with light[12] the sun,[13] the moon,[14] time,[15] movement,[16] the year,[17] doorways,[18] bridges[19] etc.) or see in the god a sort of cosmological principle, i. e. interpret him as a uranic deity.[20]

Almost all these interpretations of the Modern had already been formulated by the Ancient.[21]

The function of god of beginnings has been clearly expressed by numerous ancient sources, among them most notably perhaps by Cicero, Ovid and Varro.[22] As a god of motion he looks after passages, causes the startings of actions, presides on all beginnings and since movement and change are bivalent, he has a double nature, symbolised in his two headed image.[23] He has under his tutelage the stepping in and out of the door of homes,[24] the ianua, which took its name from him,[25] and not viceversa.[26] Similarly his tutelage extends to the covered passages named iani, and foremostly to the gates of the city, including the cultual gate of the[Argiletum, named Ianus Geminus or Porta Ianualis from which he protects Rome against the Sabins.[27] He is also present at the Sororium Tigillum, where he guards the terminus of the ways into Rome from Latium.[28] He 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.[29]

The connexion of the notions of beginning (principium) and movement and transition (eundo), and thence time, has been clearly expressed by Cicero.[30] In general, Janus is at the origin of time as the guardian of the gates of Heaven: Jupiter himself moves forth and back because of Janus's working.[31] In one of his temples, probably that of Forum Holitorium, the hands of his statue were postured so as to show number 355, later 365, symbolically expressing his mastership over time.[32] He presides over the concrete and abstract beginnings of the world,[33] such as religion and the gods themselves,[34] he too holds the access to Heaven and other gods: this is the reason why men must invoke him first, regardless of the god they want to pray or placate.[35] He is the initiator of the human life,[36] of new historical ages, and economical enterprises: in myth he first minted coins and the as, first coin of the libral series, bears his effigy on one face.[37]

Because of his initial nature he was frequently used to symbolize change and transitions such as the progression of past to future, of one condition to another, of one vision to another, the growing up of young people, and of one universe to another. He was also known as the figure representing time because he could see into the past with one face and into the future with the other. This is also one of the explanations of his image with two heads looking in opposite directions.[38] Hence, Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as marriages, deaths and other beginnings. He was representative of the middle ground between barbarity and civilization, rural country and urban cities, and youth and adulthood. Having jurisdiction on beginnings Janus had an intrinsic association with omens and auspices.[39]

Leonhard Schmitz suggests that he was likely the most important god in the Roman archaic pantheon. He was often invoked together with Iuppiter (Jupiter).[40]

In one of his works G. Dumézil has postulated the existence of a structural difference of level between the IE gods of beginning and ending and the other gods who fall into a tripartite structure, reflecting the most ancient organization of society. So in IE religions there is an introducer god (as Vedic Vâyu and Roman Janus) and a god of ending, a nurturer goddess and a genie of fire (as Vedic Saraswati and Agni, Avestic Armaiti, Anâitâ and Roman Vesta) who show a sort of mutual solidarity: the concept of god of ending is defined in connexion to the human referential, i.e. the current situation of man in the universe, and not to endings as transitions, which are under the jurisdiction of the gods of beginning, owing to the ambivalent nature of the concept. Thus the god of beginning is not structurally reducible to a sovereign god, and the goddess of ending to any of the three categories onto which the goddesses are distributed. There is though a greater degree of fuzziness concerning the function and role of female goddesses, which may have formed a preexisting structure allowing the absorption of the local Mediterrenean mother goddesses, nurturers and protectresses .[41] As a consequence the position of the gods of beginning would not be the issue of a diachronic process of debasement undergone by a supreme uranic god, but would rather be a structural feature inherent to the theology of such gods. The fall of uranic primordial gods into the condition of deus otiosus is a well known phenomenon in the history of religions. Mircea Eliade gave a positive evaluation of Dumezil's views and of the comparative research results on Indoeuropean religions achieved in Tarpeia.[42] even though he himself in many of his works observed and discussed the phenomenon of the fall of uranic deities in numerous societies of ethnologic interest.[43] The figure of the IE initial god (Vâyu, Vayu, Mainyu, Janus) may open the sacrifice (Vâyu and Janus), preside over the start of the voyage of the soul after death (Iranic Vayu), "stand at the opening of the drama of the moral history of the world" (the Zoroastrian Mainyus). They may have a double moral connotation, perhaps due to the cosmic alternance of light and darkness, as is apparent in the case of Zoroastrianism.

According to Macrobius citing Nigidius Figulus and Cicero, Janus and Jana (Diana) are a pair of divinities, worshipped as Apollo or the sun and moon, whence Janus received sacrifices before all the others, because through him is apparent the way of access to the desired deity.[44]

A similar solar interpretation has been offered by A. Audin who interprets the god as the issue of a long process of development, started with the Sumeric cultures, from the two solar pillars located on the eastern side of temples, each of them marking the direction of the rising sun at the dates of the two solstices: the southeastern corresponding to the Winter and the northeastern to the Summer solstice. These two pillars would be at the origin of the theology of the divine twins, one of whom is mortal (related to the NE pillar, as confining with the region where the sun does not shine) and the other is immortal (related to the SE pillar and the region where the sun always shines). Later these iconographic model evolved in the Middle East and Egypt into a single column representing two torsos and finally a single body with two heads looking at opposite directions.[45]

Arch of Janus in the Forum Boarium, framing the Church of St. George, Velabro

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


Numa built the Ianus geminus (also Janus Bifrons, Janus Quirinus or Portae Belli) , a passage ritually opened at times of war, and shut again when Roman arms rested.[46] It formed a walled enclosure with gates at each end, situated between the old Roman Forum and that of Julius Caesar, which had been consecrated by Numa Pompilius himself. About the exact location and aspect of the temple there has been much debate among scholars.[47] In the course of wars, the gates of the Janus were opened, and in its interior sacrifices and vaticinia were held to forecast the outcome of military deeds.[48] The doors were closed only during peacetime, an extremely rare event.[49] The function of the Ianus Geminus was supposed to be a sort of good omen: in time of peace it was said to close the wars within or to keep peace inside; in times of war it was said to be open to allow the return of the people on duty.[50]

A temple of Janus is said to have been consecrated by the consul Gaius Duilius in 260 BCE after the Battle of Mylae in the Forum Holitorium. It contained a statue of the god with the right hand showing number 300 and the left one number 65, i. e. the dimension of the solar year and twelve altars, one for each month.[51]

The four-side structure known as the Arch of Janus in the Forum Transitorium dates from the 1st century CE: according to common opinion it was built by emperor Domitian. However American scholars L. Ross Taylor and L. Adams Holland on the grounds of a passage of Statius[52] maintain that it was an earlier structure (tradition has it the Ianus Quadrifrons was brought to Rome from Falerii[53]) and that Domitian only surrounded it with his new forum.[54] In fact the building of the Forum Transitorium was achieved and inaugurated by Nerva in 96 CE.

Cult epithets

A way of inquiring into the complex nature of Janus is that of analysing systematically his cultic epithets. Religious documents may preserve a notion of the theology of a deity more accurately than other literary sources,

The main sources of Janus's cultural epithets are the fragments of the Carmen Saliare preserved by Varro in his work De Lingua Latina, a list preserved in a passage of Macrobius's Saturnalia (I 9, 15-16), another in a passage of Johannes Lydus's De Mensibus (IV 1), a list in Cedrenus's Historiarum Compendium (I p. 295 7 Bonn), partly dependent on Lydus's, and one in Servius Honoratus's commentary to the Aeneis (VII 610).[55] Literary works also preserve some of Janus's cult epithets, such as Ovid's long passage of the Fasti devoted to Janus at the beginning of book I (89-293), Tertullian, Augustine and Arnobius.

Carmen Saliare

The opening verses of the carmen[56] were (as to be expected) devoted to honoring Janus and were thence named versus ianuli.[57] Paulus-Festsus s.v. axamenta p. 3 L mentions the versus ianuli, iovii, iunonii, minervii. Only part of the versus ianuli and two of the iovii are preserved.

The manuscript has:

(paragraph 26): "cozeulodorieso. omia ũo adpatula coemisse./ ian cusianes duonus ceruses. dun; ianusue uet põmelios eum recum";

(paragraph 27): "diuum êpta cante diuum deo supplicante.""ianitos".

Many reconstructions have been proposed:[58] they vary widely on some points and are all tentative, however one can identify with certainty some epithets:

Cozeiuod[59] orieso.[60] Omnia vortitod[61] Patulti; oenus es

iancus (or ianeus), Iane, es, duonus Cerus es, duonus Ianus.

Veniet potissimum melios eum recum.

Diuum eum patrem (or partem) cante, diuum deo supplicate.


The epithets that can be identified are: Cozeuios, i. e. Conseuius the Sower, that opens the carmen and is attested as an old form of Consivius in Tertullian;[63] Patultius: the Opener; Iancus or Ianeus: the Gatekeeper; Duonus Cerus: the Good Creator; rex king (potissimum melios eum recum: the most powerful and best o 'em kings); diuum patrem (partem):[64] father of the gods (or part of the gods); diuum deus: god of the gods; ianitos: the Janitor, Gatekeeper.

Other sources

The above mentioned sources give: Ianus Geminus, I. Pater, I. Iunonius, I. Consivius, I. Quirinus, I. Patulcius and Clusivius (Macrobius above I 9, 15): Ι. Κονσίβιον, Ι. Κήνουλον, Ι. Κιβουλλιον, I. Πατρίκιον, I. Κλουσίβιον, I. Ιουνώνιον, I. Κυρινον, I. Πατούλκιον, I. Κλούσιον, I. Κουριάτιον (Lydus above IV 1); I. Κιβούλλιον, I. Κυρινον, I. Κονσαιον, I. Πατρίκιον (Cedrenus Historiarum Compendium I p. 295 7 Bonn); I. Clusiuius, I. Patulcius, I. Iunonius, I. Quirinus (Servius Aen. VII 610).

Even though the lists overlap to a certain extent (five epithets are common to Macrobius's and Lydus's list), the explanations of the epithets differ to a remarkable extent too. Macrobius 's list and explanation are probably based directly on Cornelius Labeo's work as he cites him often in his Saturnalia as when he gives a list of cultural epithets of Maia[65] and mentions one of his works, Fasti.[66] In relating Ianus epithets Macrobius states: "We invoke in the sacred rites". Labeo himself, as it is stated in the passage on Maia, read them in the lists of indigitamenta of the libri pontificum. On the other hand Lydus's authority cannot have consulted these documents precisely because he offers different (and sometimes bizarre) explanations for the common epithets: it looks probable he just received a sheer list with no interpretations appended and he interpreted it according to his own views.[67]

Pater is perhaps the most frequent epithet of Janus, found also in the composition Ianuspater. Even though numerous gods share this cultual epithet it looks the Romans felt it was typically pertinent to Janus.[68] When he is invoked along other gods usually only he is called pater.[69] To Janus the title is not just a term of respect but primarily it marks his primordial role. He is the first of the gods and thence their father: the formula quasi deorum deum corresponds to diuum deus of the carmen Saliare.[70] To the same complex can be reconducted the expression duonus Cerus in which Cerus means creator and is considered a masculine form related to Ceres.[71] Lydus gives Πατρίκιος (Patricius) and explains it as autóchthon: since he does not give another epithet corresponding to Pater it is legitimate to infer that Lydus understands Patricius as a synonymous of Pater.[72] There is no evidence connecting Janus to gentilician cults or identifying him as a national god particularly venerated by the oldest patrician families.[73]

Geminus is the first epithet in Macrobius 's list. Even though the etymology of the word is unclear,[74] it is certainly related to his most typical character, that of having two faces or heads. The proof are the numerous equivalent expressions.[75] The origin of this epithet might be either concrete, referring directly to the image of the god reproduced on coins[76] and supposed to have been introduced by king Numa in the sanctuary at the lowest point of the Argiletum,[77] or to a feature of the Ianus of the Porta Belli that had a double gate ritually opened at the beginning of wars,[78] or abstract deriving metaphorically from the liminal, intermediary functions of the god themselves: both in time and space passages put into communication two different spheres, realms or worlds.[79] The Janus quadrifrons or quadriformis, brought according to tradition from Falerii in 241 BC [80] and installed by Domitian in the Forum Transitorium,[81] seems to be connected to the same theological complex, as its image purports an ability to rule over every direction, element and time of the year: it did not become a new epithet though.[82][83]

Patulcius and Clusivius or Clusius too are epithets related to an inherent quality and function of doors, that of standing open or shut. Janus as the Gatekeeper has jurisdiction on every kind of doors and passage and the power of opening or closing them.[84] Servius interprets (only Patulcius) in the same way. Lydus gives a wrog translation, "αντί του οδαιον": however this interpretation reflects one of the attributes of the god, i. e. that of being the protector of roads.[85] Elsewhere Lydus cites the epithet θυρέος to justify the key held by Janus.[86] The antithetic quality of the two epithts is meant to refer to the alternance of opposite conditions[87] and is commonly found in the indigitamenta: Macrobius cites the instances of Antevorta and Postvorta in relation to Janus[88] who are the personification of two indigitations of Carmentis.[89] These epithets are associated with the ritual function of Janus in the opening of the of the Porta Ianualis or Porta Belli.[90] The rite might go back to times predating the founding of Rome.[91] Poets tried and explain this rite by imagining that the gate closed either war or peace inside the ianus, but in its religious significance it might have been meant to propitiate the return home of the victorious soldiers.[92]

Quirinus is a debated epithet. According to some scholars, mostly French, it looks to be strictly related to the same ideas of the passage of the Roman people from war back to peace, i. e. from the condition of miles, soldier to that of quiris, citizen occupied in peaceful business as the rites of the Porta Belli imply. This is in fact the usual sense of the word quirites in Latin.[93] Other scholars, mainly German, think it is on the opposite related to the martial character of god Quirinus, interpretation which is supported by numerous ancient sources: Lydus,[94] Cedrenus,[95] Macrobius,[96] Ovid,[97] Plutarch[98] and Paul the Daecon.[99][100] Schilling and Capdeville counter that it is his function of presiding on the come back of peace that got Janus this epithet, as is confirmed by his association on March 30 to Pax, Concordia and Salus,[101] even though it is true that Janus as god of all beginnings presides also to that of war and is thence often called belliger bringer of war[102] as well as pacificus. This use is also discussed by Dumézil in various works concerning the armed nature of the Mars qui praeest paci, the armed quality of the gods of the third function and the arms of the third function.[103] C. Koch on the other hand sees the epithet Janus Quirinus as a reflection of a patronage of the god on the two months beginning and ending the year, after their addition by king Numa in his reform of the calendar. This interpretation too would befit the liminal nature of Janus.[104] The compound term Ianus Quirinus was particularly in vogue at the time of Augustus as its peaceful interpretation fitted particularly well the augustan ideology of the Pax Romana.[105]

The compound Ianus Quirinus is to be found also in the rite of the spolia opima, a lex regia ascribed to Numa, which prescribed that the third rank spoils of a defeated king or chief of an enemy army, those conquered by a common soldier, be consacrated to Ianus Quirinus.[106] R. Schilling on his part proposes to understand the reference of this rite to Ianus Quirinus in the original prophetic interpretation, which ascribes to him the last and conclusive spoils of the history of Rome.[107]

The epithet Ποπάνων (Popanōn) is attested only by Lydus,[108] who cites Varro as stating that on the day of the kalendae he was offered a cake which earned him this title. There is no surviving evidence of this name in Latin, although the rite is attested by Ovid for the kalendae of January[109] and by Paul.[110] This cake was named ianual but the related epithet of Janus could not plausibly have been Ianualis: it has been suggested Libo[111] which remains sheerly hypothetic. The context could allow an Etruscan etymology.

Janus owes his epithet of Iunonius to his function of patron of all kalends, which are also associated to Juno. In Macrobius's explanation: "Iunonium, as it were, not only does he hold the entry to January, but to all the months: indeed all the kalends are under the jurisdiction of Juno". At the time when the rising of the new moon was observed by the pontifex minor the rex sacrorum assisted by him offered a sacrifice to Janus in the Curia Calabra while the regina sacrorum sacrificed to Juno in the regia.[112] Some scholars have maintained that Juno was the primitive paredra of the god. This point bears on the nature of Janus and Juno and is at the core of an important dispute: i.e. whether Janus was a debased ancient uranic supreme god or Janus and Jupiter were coexistent and their distinction was structurally inherent to their original theology. Among Francophone scholars P. Grimal and implicitly and partially M. Renard and V. Basanoff have supported the view of a uranic supreme god against G. Dumézil and R. Schilling. Among Anglophone scholars J. G. Frazer and A.B. Cook have suggested an interpretation of Janus as uranic supreme god. Whatever the case, it is certain that Janus and Juno show a peculiar reciprocal affinity: while Janus is Iunonius Juno is Ianualis as she favours delivery, women's physiological cycle and opens doors.[113] Moreover, besides the kalends Janus and Juno are also associated in the rite of the Tigillum Sororium of October 1, in which they bear the epithets of Janus Curiatius and Juno Sororia: these epithets which show a crossing and swapping of functional qualities between the gods are the most remarkable and apparent proof of their proximity.[114] This rite is discussed in detail in the section below.

Consivius sower, is an epithet that reflects the tutelary function of the god on the first instant of human life and of life in general, conception. This function is a particular case of his function of patron of beginnings. As far as man is concerned it is obviously of the greatest importance, even though both Augustine and some modern scholars see it as minor.[115] Augustine shows astonishment at the fact some of the dii selecti may be engaged in such tasks: "In fact Janus himself first, when pregnancy is conceived,... opens the way to the receiving of the semen" .[116] Varro on the other hand had clear the relevance of the function of starting a new life by opening the way to the semen and thence started his enumeration of gods from Janus, following the pattern of the Carmen Saliare.[117] Macrobius gives the same interpretation of the epithet in his list: "Consivius from sowing (conserendo), i. e. from the propagation of the human genre, that is disseminated by the working of Janus."[118] Lydus understands Consivius as βουλαιον (consiliarius) owing to a conflation with Consus through Ops Consiva or Consivia. The interpretation of Consus as god of advice is already present in Latin authors[119] and is due to a folk etymology supported by the story of the abduction of the Sabine women (which happened on the day of the Consualia aestiva), said to have been advised by Consus. However no Latin source cites relationships of any kind between Consus and Janus Consivius. Moreover both the passages that this etymology requires present difficulties, particularly as it looks that Consus cannot be etymologically related to adjective consivius or conseuius, found in Ops Consivia and thence the implied notion of sowing.[120]

Κήνουλος (Coenulus) and Κιβουλλιος (Cibullius) are not attested by Latin sources. The second epithet is not to be found in Lydus's manuscripts and is present in Cedrenus along with its explanation concerning food and nurture. The editor of Lydus R. Wünsch has added Cedrenus's passage after Lydus's own explanation of Coenulus as ευωχιαστικός, good host at a banquet. Capdeville considers the text of Cedrenus due to a paleographic error: only Coenulus is certainly an epithet of Janus and the adjective used to explain it, meaning to present and to treat well at dinner, reminds a ritual invocation at the beginning of meals, wishing the diners to make good flesh.[121] This is one of the features of Janus as shown by the myth that associates him with Carna, Cardea, Crane.[122]

The epithet Curiatius is found in association with Iuno Sororia as designing the deity to which one of the two altars behind the Tigillum Sororium was dedicated. Festus and other ancient authors [123] explain Curiatius by the aetiologic legend of the Tigillum, i. e. the expiation undergone by P. Horatius victorious over the Alban Curiatii, for the murder of his own sister, by walking under the beam with his head veiled.[124] G. Capdeville sees this epithet as related exclusively to the characters of the legend and the rite itself: he invoks the analysis by G. Dumézil as his authority.[125] At the beginning it was probably a sacrum entrusted to the gens Horatia that allowed the desacralisation of the iuvenes at the end of the military season, later transferred to the state.[126] Janus 's patronage in a rite of passage would be natural. The presence of Juno would be related to the date (Kalends), her protection of the iuvenes, soldiers, or the legend itself. M. Renard connects its meaning to the cu(i)ris, the spear of Juno Curitis as here she is given the epithet of Sororia, corresponding to the usual epithet Geminus of Janus and to the twin or feminine nature of the passage between two coupled posts.[127] R. Schilling [128] opines it is related to curia, as the Tigillum was located not far from the curiae veteres: however this interpretation, even though supported by an inscription (lictor curiatius )[129] is considered unacceptable by M. Renard for the different quantity of the u, brief in curiatius as well as in curis, Curitis and long in curia. Moreover it is part of the different interpretation of the meaning of the ritual of the Tigillum Sororium proposed by Herbert Jennings Rose, Kurt Latte and Robert Schilling himself. However the etymology of Curiatius remains uncertain.[130] On the role of Janus in the rite of the Tigillum Sororium see also the section below.


The rites concerning Janus were numerous. Owing to the versatile and far reaching character of the basic function of the god, marking beginnings and transitions his presence was ubiquitous and fragmented. Apart from the rites solemnizing the beginning of the new year and of every month there were the special times of the year which marked the beginning and the closing of the military season, in March and October respectively. These included the rite of the arma movere on March 1 and that of the arma condere at the end of the month performed by the Salii, and the Tigillum Sororium on October 1.The anniversaries of the dedication of the temples of Mars on June 1 (a date that corresponded with the festival of Carna, a deity associated with Janus: see below) and of that of Quirinus on June 29 (which was the last day of the month in the prejulian calendar) had a close association with Janus Quirinus. These important rites are discussed in detail in the sections below.

Any rite or religious action whatever required the invoking of Janus in the first place, to which corresponded an invocation to Vesta at the end (Janus primus and Vesta extrema). Instances are to be found in the Carmen Saliare, the formula of the devotio,[131] the lutration of the fields and the sacrifice of the porca praecidanea,[132] the Acta of the Arval Brethren.[133]

Even though Janus had no flamen he was closely associated with the rex sacrorum who performs his sacrifices and took part in most of his rites: the rex was the first in the ordo sacerdotum hierarchy of priests.[134] The flamen of Portunus performed the ritual greasing of the spear of the god Quirinus on August 17, day of the Portunalia and on the same date that the temple of Janus in the Forum Holitorium had been consecrated (by consul Caius Duilius in 260 BC). Portunus seems to be a god closely related to Janus, if with a specifically restricted area of competence, in that he presides over doorways and harbours and shares with Janus his two symbols, the key and the stick.[135]

Beginning of the year

The Winter solstice was thought to happen on December 25. January 1 was new year day: the day was consecrated to Janus since it was the first of the new year and of the month (kalends) of Janus: the feria had an augural character as Romans believed the beginning of anything was an omen for the whole. Thus on that day it was customary to exchange cheerful words of good wishes.[136] For the same reason too everybody devoted a short time to his usual business[137] exchanged dates, figs and honey as a token of well wishing and gifts of coins called strenae.[138] Cakes made of spelt (far) and salt were offered to the god and burnt on the altar.[139][140] Ovid states that in most ancient times there were no animal sacrifices and gods were propitiated with offerings of spelt and pure salt.[141] This libum was named ianual and it was probably correspondent to the summanal offered the day before the Summer solstice to god Summanus, which however was sweet being made with flour, honey and milk.

Shortly afterwards, on January 9, on the feria of the Agonium of January the rex sacrorum offered the sacrifice of a ram to Janus.[142]

Beginning of the month

At the kalends of each month the rex sacrorum and the pontifex minor offered a sacrifice to Janus in the curia Calabra, while the regina offered a sow or a she lamb to Juno.[143]

Beginning of the day

Morning belonged to Janus: men started their daily activities and business. Horace calls him Matutine Pater, morning father.[144] G. Dumézil thinks this custom is at the origin of the learned interpretations of Janus as a solar deity.[145]


Janus was also involved in the spatial aspect of transitions as that of presiding over home doors, city gates and boundaries. Numerous toponyms of places located at the boundary between the territory of two communities, especially Etrurians and Latins or Umbrians, are named after the god.[146] The most notable instance is the Ianiculum which marked the access to Etruria from Rome.[147] Since borders often coincided with rivers and those of Rome (and other Italics) with Etruria was the Tiber, it has been argued that its crossing had a religious connotation: it would have involved a set of rigorous apotropaic practices and a devotional attitude: Janus would have originally regulated not every kind of transition, but particularly the crossing of this sacred river through the pons sublicius.[148] The name of the Iāniculum is not derived by that of the god, but from the abstract noun iānus, -us.[149][150] L. Adams Holland opines it would have been originally the name of a small bridge connecting the Tiber Island (on which she supposes the first shrine of Janus stood) with the right bank of the river.[151] However Janus was the protector of doors, gates and roadways in general, as is shown by his two symbols, the key and the staff.[152] The key too was a sign that the traveller had come to a harbour or ford in peace in order to exchange his goods.[153]

The 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.

Rites of the Salii

The rittes of the Salii marked the springtime beginning of the war season in March and its closing in October. The structure itself of the patrician sodalitas, made up by the two groups of the Salii Palatini, who were consecrated to Mars and whose institution was traditionally ascribed to Numa (with headquarter on the Palatine), and the Salii Collini or Agonales, consecrated to Quirinus and whose foundation was ascribed to Tullus Hostilius, (with headquarter on the Quirinal) reflects in its division the dialectic symbolic role they played in the rites of the opening and closing of the military season.[154] So does the legend of their foundation itself: the peace loving king Numa instituted the Salii of Mars Gradivus foreseeing the future wars of the Romans.[155] And the warmonger king Tullus, in a battle during a longstanding war with the Sabines vowed the foundation of a second group of Salii should he obtain victory.[156] The paradox of the pacifist king serving Mars and passage to war and of the warmonger king serving Quirinus to achieve peace under the expected conditions highlights the dialectic nature of the cooperation between the two gods, inherent to their own function.[157] Because of the working of the talismans of the sovereign god they guaranteed alternatively force and victory and fecundity and plenty. It is noteworthy that the two groups of Salii did not split their competences so that one group only opened the way to war and the other to peace: both at the openeing and the conclusion of the military season they worked together, marking the passage of power from one god to the other. Thus the Salii enacted the dialectic nature present in the warring and peaceful aspect of the Roman people, particularly the iuvenes.[158] This dialectic was reflected materially by the location of the temple of Mars outside the pomerium and of the temple of Quirinus inside it.[159] The annual dialectic rhythm of the rites of the Salii of March and October was also further reflected within the rites of each month and spatially by their repeated crossing of the pomerial line. The rites of March started on the fist with the ceremony of the ancilia movere, developed through the month on the 14 with Equirria in the Campus Martius (and the rite of Mamurius Veturius marking the expulsion of the old year), the 17 with the Agonium Martiale, the 19 with the Quinquatrus in the Comitium (which correspond symmetrically with the Armilustrium of October 19), on the 23 with the Tubilustrium and terminated at the end of the month with the rite of the ancilia condere. Only after this month long set of rites had been accomplished was it fas to undertake military campaigns.[160] While Janus sometimes is named belliger[161] and sometimes pacificus[162] in accord with his general function of beginner, he is mentioned as Janus Quirinus in relation to the closing of the rites of March at the end of the month together with Pax, Salus and Concordia:[163] This feature is a reflection of the association Janus Quirinus which stresses the quirinal function of bringing peace back and the hope of soldiers for a victourious comeback.[164][165]

As the rites of the Salii mime the passage from peace to war and back to peace by moving between the two poles of Mars and Quirinus in the monthly cycle of March, so do they in the ceremonies of October, the Equus October taking place on the Campus Martius[166] the Armilustrium, purification of the arms, on the Aventine,[167] and the Tubilustrium on the 23. Other correspondences may be found in the dates of the founding of the temples of Mars on June 1 and of that of Quirinus on June 29 that in prejulian calendar was the last day of the month, implying that the opening of the month belonged to Mars and the closing to Quirinus. The reciprocity of the situation of the two gods is subsumed under the role of opener and closer played by Janus as Ovid states: "Why are you hidden in peace, and open when the arms have been moved?"[168] Another analogous correspondence may be found in the festival of the Quirinalia of February, last month of the ancient calendar of Numa.[169] The rite of the opening and closure of the Janus Quirinus would thence reflect the idea of the reintegretation of the miles into the civil society, i.e. the community of the quirites by playing a lustral role similar to the Tigillum Sororium and the porta triumphalis located at the south of the Campus Martius. In the augustan ideology this symbolic meaning has been strongly emphasised.[170]

Tigillum Sororium

This rite was supposed to commemorate the expiation of the murder of his own sister by Marcus Horatius.[171] The young hero had to pass under a beam which spanned an alley with his head veiled. The rite was repeated every year on October 1.[172] The tigillum consisted of a beam on two posts.[173] It was kept in good condition at public expenses to the time of Livy. Behind the tigillum on the opposite sides of the alley stood the two altars of Janus Curiatius and Juno Sororia. Its location was on the vicus leading to the Carinae, perhaps on the point of the crossing of the pomerium.[174] The rite and myth have been interpreted by G. Dumezil as a purification and desacralization of the soldiers from the religious pollution contracted at war, and a freeing of the warrior from the furor, wrath, dangerous within the city as necessary in campaign.[175]

The rite takes place on the kalends of October, month marking the end of the yearly military activity in ancient Rome. Scholars have offered different interpretations of the meaning of Janus Curiatius and Juno Sororia. The association of the two gods in this rite is not immediately perspicous. It is though apparent that they exchange their epithets as Curiatius is connected to (Juno) Curitis and Sororia to (Janus) Geminus.[176] M. Renard thinks that while Janus is the god of motion and transitions he is not concerned with purification directly: the arch too is more associated to Juno. This fact would be testified by the epithet Sororium shared by the tigillum and the goddess. Juno Curitis is also the protectress of the iuvenes, the young soldiers.[177] Paul the Deacon states that the sororium tigillum was a sacer (sacred) place in honour of Juno.[178] Another element that involves Juno in association with Janus is her identification with Carna, suggested by the festival of this deity on the kalends (day of Juno) of June, the month Juno. Carna was a nymmph of the sacred lucus of Helernus, made goddess of hinges by Janus with the name of Cardea and had the power of protecting and purifying the thresholds and the posts of doors.[179] This would be a further element in explaining the role of Juno in the Tigillum. It was also customary for new brides to oil the posts of the door of their new homes with wolf fat. In the myth of Janus and Carna (see section below) Carna had the habit, when pursued by a young man, of asking him for a hidden recess out of her shyness and thereupon fleeing: two headed Janus though saw her hiding in a crag under some rocks. Thence the analogy with the rite of the Tigillum Sororium would be apparent: both in the myth and in the rite Janus, the god of motion, passes under a low passage to attain Carna as Horatius does pass under the tigillum to obtain his purification and the restitution to the condition of citizen eligible for civil activities, including family life. The purification is then the prerequisite for fertility. The custom of attaining lustration and fertility by passing under a gape in rocks, a hole in the soil or a hollow in a tree is widespread.[180] The veiled head of Horatius could also be explained as an apotropaic device if one considers that the tigillum is the iugum of Juno, the feminine principle of fecundity. Renard concludes remarking that the rite is under the tutelage of both Janus and Juno, being a rite of transition under the patronage of Janus and of desacralisation and fertility under that of Juno: through it the iuvenes coming back from campaign were restituted to their fertile condition of husbands and peasants. 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 one would allow the manifestation of the other.[181]


In discussing myths about Janus one should be careful in distinguishing those who are ancient and originally Latin and others which were later attributed to him by Greek mythographers.[182] In the Fasti Ovid relates only the myths that associate Janus to Saturn, whom he welcomed as a guest and with whom eventually shared his kingdom in reward of his teaching the art of agriculture, and to the nymph Crane Grane or Carna, whom Janus raped and made the goddess of hinges as Cardea,[183] while in the Metamorphoses he records his fathering with Venilia the nymph Canens, loved by Picus.[184]

The myth of Crane has been studied by M. Renard[185] and G. Dumezil.[186] The first scholar sees in it a sort of parallel with the theology underlying the rite of the Tigillum Sororium. Crane is a nymph of the sacred wood of Helernus, located at the issue of the Tiber, whose festival of February 1 corresponded with that of Juno Sospita:[187] Crane might be seen as a minor imago of the goddess. Her habit of deceiving her male pursuers by hiding in crags in the soil reveals her association not only with vegetation but also with rocks, caverns, and underpassages.[188] Her nature looks to be also associated with vegetation and nurture: G. Dumezil has proved that Helernus was a god of vegetation, vegetative lushiousness and orchards, particularly associated with vetch. As Ovid writes in his Fasti,[183] June 1 was the festival day of Carna, besides being the kalendary festival of the month of Juno and the festival of Juno Moneta. Ovid seems to purposefully conflate and identify Carna with Cardea in the aetiologic myth related above. Consequently the association of both Janus and god Helernus with Carna-Crane is highlighted in this myth: it was customary on that day eating vetch and lard, which were supposed to strengthen the body. Cardea had also magic powers for protecting doorways (by touching thresholds and posts with wet hawthorn twigs) and newborn children by the aggression of the striges (in the myth the young Proca).[189] M. Renard sees the association of Janus with Crane as reminiscent of widespread rites of lustration and fertility performed through the ritual walking under low crags or holes in the soil or natural hollows in trees, which in turn are reflected in the lustrative rite of the Tigillum Sororium.

Macrobius[190] relates Janus was supposed to have shared a kingdom with Camese in Latium, on a place then named Camesene. He states that Hyginus recorded the tale on the authority of a Protarchus of Tralles. In Macrobius Camese is a male: after Camese's death Janus reigned alone. However Greek authors make of Camese Janus's sister and spouse: Atheneus[191] citing a certain Drakon of Corcyra writes that Janus fathered with his sister Camese a son named Aithex and a daughter named Olistene.[192] Servius Danielis[193] states Tiber (i. e. Tiberinus) was their son.

Arnobius writes that Fontus was the son of Janus and Juturna.[194] The name itself proves that this is a secondary form of Fons modelled on Janus,[195] denouncing the late character of this myth: it was probably conceived because of the proximity of the festivals of Juturna (January 11) and the Agonium of Janus (January 9) as well as for the presence of an altar of Fons near the Janiculum[196] and the closeness of the notions of spring and of beginning.

Plutarch[197] writes that according to some Janus was a Greek from Perrhebia.[198]

When Romulus and his men kidnapped the Sabine women, Janus caused a volcanic hot spring to erupt, resulting in the would-be attackers being buried alive in the deathly hot, brutal water and ash mixture of the rushing hot volcanic springs that killed, burned, or disfigured many of Tatius's men. This spring is called Lautolae by Varro.[199] Later on, however, the Sabines and Romans agreed on creating a new community together. In honor of this, the doors of a walled roofless structure called 'The Janus' (not a temple) were kept open during war after a symbolic contingent of soldiers had marched through it. The doors were closed in ceremony when peace was concluded.[200]

Origin, legends and history

A bronze as from Canusium depicting a laureate Janus with the prow of a ship on the reverse

In accord with his fundamental character of being the Beginner Janus was considered by Romans the first king of Latium, sometimes along with Camese.[201] He would have received hospitably god Saturn, who, expelled from Heaven by Jupiter, arrived on a ship to the Janiculum. Janus would have also effected the miracle of turning the waters of the spring at the foot of the Viminal from cold to scorching hot in order to fend off the assault of the Sabines of king Titus Tatius, come to avenge the kidnapping of their daughters by the Romans.[202]

His temple named Janus Geminus had to stand open in times of war. It was said to have been built by king Numa Pompilius, who kept it always shut during his reign as there were no wars. After him it was closed very few times, one after the end of the first Punic War, three times under Augustus and once by Nero. It is recorded that emperor Gordianus III opened the Janus Geminus.[203]

It is a noteworthy curiosity that the opening of the Janus was perhaps the last act connected to the ancient religion in Rome: Procopius writes[204] that in 536 CE, during the Gothic War, while general Belisarius was under siege in Rome, at night somebody opened the Janus Geminus stealthily , which had long stayed closed since 390, year on which Theodosius's edict banned the ancient cults. Janus was faithful to his liminal role also in the marking of this last act.[205]

The uniqueness of Janus in Latium has suggested to L. Adams Holland and J. Gagé the hypothesis of a cult brought from far away by sailors and strictly linked to the amphibious life of the primitive communities living on the banks of the Tiber. In the myth of Janus the ship of Saturn as well as the myth of Carmenta and Evander are remininscent of an ancient Preroman sailing life. The elements that connect Janus to sailing are summarised here below as presented in the work of Gagé.[206]

1. The boat of Janus and the beliefs of the primitive sailing techniques.

a) The proximity of Janus and Portunus and the functions of the flamen Portunalis.

The temple of Janus was dedicated by C. Duilius on August 17, day of the Portunalia. The key was the symbol of both gods and was also meant to signify that the boarding boat was a peaceful merchant boat.

The flamen Portunalis oiled the arms of Quirinus with an ointment kept in a peculiar container named persillum, term perhaps derived from Etruscan persie.[207] A similar object seems to be represented in a fresco picture of the Calendar of Ostia on which young boys prepare to apply a resin contained in a basin to a boat standing on a cart, i.e. yet to be launched.

b) The Tigillum Sororium would be related to a cult of wood of the Horatii, as shown by the episodes of the pons sublicius defended by Horatius Cocles and of the posts of the main entrance of the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, on which Marcus Horatius Pulvillus lay his hand during the dedication rite. Gagé thinks the magic power of the Tigillum Sororium should be due to the living and burgeoning nature of wood.

2. Falacer and flamen Falacer as related to a sacred tree useful in shipbuilding. This flamen would be related to Janus as the flamen Portunalis is because of the association of pater Falacer and shipping.

a) The name of divus pater Falacer[208] would be that of a Sabine god similar to Quirinus, i.e. a spear god from the town of Falacrinae.[209] The term is related to falarica, a javelin soaked in pitch, ending with a point of inflammable material. Falas in Etruscan means pole or tower. The name could be related to that of the faba graeca the Greek lotus, imported from Syria (Celtis australis). This tree would have been used among certain communities as the wild olive was to make rolls in order to haul ships upon. The name of the flamen would reflect an ancient name of this tree later corrupted into faba.[210]

b) Religious quality of trees as the wild olive (analogous to that of corniolum and wild fig) to sailing communities: it does not rot in sea water, thence it was used in shipbuilding and the making of rolls for the hauling of ships overland.

3. Janus and the depiction of Boreas as Bifrons: climatological elements.

a) The calendar of Numa and the role of Janus. Contradictions of the ancient Roman calendar on the beginning of the new year: originally March was the first month and February the last one. January, the month of Janus, became the first afterwards and through several manipulations. The liminal character of Janus is though present in the association to the Saturnalia of December, reflecting the strict relationship between the two gods and the rather blurred distinction of their stories and symbols. The initial role of Janus in the political-religious operations of January: nuncupatio votorum spanning the year, imperial symbol of the boat in the rite of opening of the sailing season of the vota felicia. Janus and his myths allow for an ancient interpretation of the vota felicia different from the Isiadic one.

b) The idea of the Seasons in the ancient traditions of the Ionian Islands. The crossing of the Hyperborean myths. Cephalonia as a place at the cross of famous winds. Application of the theory of winds for the navigation in the Ionian Sea. The type Boreas Bifrons as probable model of the Roman Janus.

The observation has been made first by the Roscher Lexicon: "Ianus is he too, doubtlessly, a god of wind" and repeated in the RE Pauly-Wissowa s.v. Boreas by Rapp. P. Grimal has taken up this interpretation connecting it to a vase with red figures representing Boreas pursuing the nymph Oreithyia: Boreas is depicted as a two headed winged demon, the two faces with beards, one black and the other fair, perhaps symbolising the double movement of the winds Boreas and Antiboreas. This proves the Greek of the V century BC did know the image of Janus. Gagé feels compelled to mention here another parallel with Janus to be found in the figure of Argos with one hundred eyes and in his association with his murderer Hermes.

Among the winds studied by Greek sailors one can number Auster and Aquilon.[211] Favonius on the other hand is not known to the Greek but is of particular relevance to the Roman as it started to blow exactly on the sixth day before the Idi of February: it was regarded as the bringer of the Springtime renewal of life. Few days later recurred the festival of Faunus, on the idi.[212]

c) Solar, solsticial and cosmological elements. While there is no direct proof of an original solar meaning of Janus, this being the issue of learned speculations of the Roman erudits initiated into the mysteries and of emperors as Domitian, the derivation from a Syrian cosmogonic deity proposed by P. Grimal looks more acceptable. Gagé though sees an ancient, preclassical Greek mythic substratum to which belong Deucalion and Pyrrha and the Hyperborean origins of the Delphic cult of Apollo[213] as well as the Argonauts. The beliefs in the magic power of trees is reflected in the use of the olive wood, as for the rolls of the ship Argo: the myth of the Argonauts has links with Corcyra, remembered by Ampelius.[214]

4. The sites of the cults of Janus at Rome and his associations in ancient Latium.

a) Argiletum. Varro gives either the myth of the killing of Argos as an etymology of the word Argi-letum (death of Argos), which is not reliable, or the place standing upon a soil of clay, argilla. However the names in -etum are usually referred to trees. The place so named stood at the foot of the Viminal, the hill of the reeds. It could also be referred to the white willow tree, used to make objects of trelliswork. The word could also be linked to the Argei the 27 or 30 dolls thrown into the Tiber in the rite of May 15. On them the more accepted opinion (at the time, 1979) is that they represented Greeks, Argei being their ancient designation by the Romans. The rite could be a substitution rite for human sacrifices or be original as such. The most supported opinion among the Ancient was that of a rite of substitution of human sacrifices to Saturn ascribed to Hercules.[215] At any rate the rite must be associated to a local Preroman life linked to the Tiber, to a river religion in which the reeds harvested in the river itself or its banks had a peculiar value.[216] Janus though is not present in this rite.

b) The Janiculum may have been inhabited by people who were not Latin but had close alliances with Rome.[217] The right bank of the Tiber would constitute a typical, commodious landing place for boats and the cult of Janus would have been double as far as amphibious.

c) Janus's cultic alliances and relations in Latium show a Prelatin character. Janus has no association in cult (calendar or prayer formulae) with any other entity. Even though he has the epithet of Pater he is no head of a divine family; however some testimonies lend him a companion, sometimes female and a son and/or a daughter. They belong to the family of the nymphs or genies of springs. Janus intervenes in the miracle of the hot spring during the battle between Romulus and Tatius: Juturna and the nymphs of the springs are clearly related to Janus as well as Venus, that in the Ovid's Metamorphoses cooperates in the miracle and that may have been confused with Venilia, or perhaps the two were originally one. Janus has a direct link only to Venilia with whom he fathered Canens.[218] The magic role of the wild olive tree (oleaster) is prominent in the description of the duel between Aeneas and Turnus[219] reflecting its religious significance and powers: it was sacred to sailors, also to those who had shipwrecked as a protecting guide to the shore. It was probably venerated by a Prelatin culture in association with Faunus. In the story of Venulus coming back from Apulia too we see the religious connotation of the wild olive: the king discovers one into which a local shepherd had been had been turned for failing to respect some nymphs he had come across in a nearby cavern, apparently Venilia, as she was the deity associated with the magic virtues of such tree. Gagé finds it remarkable that the characters related to Janus are in the Aeneis on the side of the Rutuli. In the Aeneis Janus would be represented by Tiberinus. Olistene, the daughter of Janus with Camese, may reflect in her name that of the olive or oleaster, or of Oreithyia.[220] Camese may be reflected in Carmenta: Evander's mother is from Arcadia, comes to Latium as an exile migrant and has her two festivals in January: Camese's name does not look Latin.

5. Sociological remarks.

a) The vagueness of Janus's association with the cults of primitive Latium and his indifference towards social composition of the Roman State suggest the inference that he was a god of an earlier amphibious merchant society in which the role of the guardian was indispensable.

b) Janus bifrons and the Penates. Even though the cult of Janus cannot be confused with that of the Penates, related with Dardanian migrants from Troy, the binary nature of the Penates and of Janus postulates a correspondent ethnic or social organisation. Here the model is thought to be provided by the cult of the Magni Dei or Cabeiri preserved at Samothrace and worshipped particularly among sailing merchants. The aetiological myth is noteworthy too: at the beginning one finds Dardanos and his brother Iasios [221] appearing as auxiliary figures of a Phrygian cult of a Great Mother. In Italy there is a trace of a conflict between worshippers of the Argive Hera (Diomedes and the Diomedians of the south) and of the Penates. The cult of Janus looks to be related to social groups remained at the fringe of the Phrygian ones. They might or might not have been related to the cult of the Dioscuri.[222]

c) The ianitrices in Roman law. The term is attested by Modestinus in the Digesta 38, 10, 4, 6 and glossed by Isidorus Origines 9, 7, 17. It denotes the spouses of the brothers of one's husband: it is attested only in the imperial period and in the juridical language. It has a symmetric correspondent in levir brother of one's husband. It is possible to suppose that the word ianitrix may at its origin have issued from the cult of Janus, which could have given special functions to women married to the two undivisible companions while later it got fixed to a special sense of relations. This topic bears on the matrimonial practices of early Roman society which show traces of a regimen different from the classic one, i. e. monogamic with exogamy.[223]

Relationship with other gods

Janus and Juno

The relationship between Janus and Juno is defined by the closeness of the notions of beginning and transition and the functions of conception and delivery, result of youth and vital force. The reader is referred to the above sections Cultual epithets and Tigillum Sororium of this article and the corresponding section of article Juno.

Janus and Quirinus

Quirinus is a god that incarnates the quirites, i.e. the Romans in their civil capacity of producers and fathers. He is surnamed Mars tranquillus peaceful Mars, Mars qui praeest paci Mars who presides on peace. His function of custos guardian is highlighted by the location of his temple inside the pomerium but not far from the gate of Porta Collina or Quirinalis, near the shrines of Sancus and Salus. As a protector of peace he is nevertheless armed, in the same way as the quirites are, as they are potentially milites soldiers: his staue represents him is holding a spear. For this reason Janus, god of gates, is concerned with his function of protector of the civil community. For the same reason the flamen Portunalis oiled the arms of Quirinus, implying that they were to be kept in good order and ready even though they were not to be used immediately.[224] Dumézil and Schilling remark that as a god of the third function Quirinus is peaceful and represents the ideal of the pax romana i. e. a peace resting on victory.[225]

Janus and Portunus

Portunus may be defined as a sort of duplication inside the scope of the powers and attributes of Janus.[226] His original definition shows he was the god of gates and doors and of harbours. In fact it is debated whether his original function was only that of god of gates and the function of god of harbours was a later addition: Paul the Deacon writes: "... he is depicted holding a key in his hand and was thought to be the god of gates". Varro would have stated that he was the god of harbours and patron of gates.[227] His festival day named Portunalia fell on August 17, and he was venerated on that day in a temple ad pontem Aemilium and ad pontem Sublicium that had been dedicated on that date.[228] Portunus, unlike Janus, had his own flamen, named Portunalis. It is noteworthy that the temple of Janus in the Forum Holitorium had been consecrated on the day of the Portunalia and that the flamen Portunalis was in charge of oiling the arms of the statue of Quirinus.[229][230]

Janus and Vesta

The relationship between Janus and Vesta touches on the question of the nature and function of the gods of beginning and ending in Indo-European religion.[231] While Janus has the first place Vesta has the last, both in theology and in ritual (Ianus primus, Vesta extrema). The last place implies a direct connexion with the situation of the worshipper, in space and in time. Vesta is thence the goddess of the hearth of homes as well as of the city. Her unextinguishable fire is a means for men (as individuals and community) whereby keeping in touch with the realm of gods. Thus there is a reciprocal link between the god of beginnings and unending motion, who bestows life to the beings of this world (Cerus Manus) as well as presiding over its end, and the goddess of the hearth of man, which symbolises through fire the presence of life. Vesta is a virgin goddess but at the same time she is considered the mother of Rome: she is thought to be indispensable to the existence and survival of the community.[232]

Janus in Etruria

Austrian commemorative gold 100-euro coin depicting a sculpture group in Vienna: Janus, with one youthful and one bearded face, appears on the shield of Providentia

It has long been believed that Janus was present among the theonyms on the outer rim of the Piacenza Liver in case 3 under the name of Ani. This fact created a problem as the god of beginnings looked to be located in a situation other than the initial, i. e. the first case. After the new readings proposed by A. Maggiani, in case 3 one should read TINS: the difficulty has thus dissolved.[233] Ani has thence been eliminated from Etruscan theology as this was his only attestation.[234] Maggiani[235] remarks that this earlier identification was in contradiction with the testimony ascribed to Varro by Johannes Lydus that Janus was named caelum among the Etruscans.[236] On the other hand as expected Janus is present in region I of Martianus Capella's division of Heaven and in region XVI , the last one, are to be found the Ianitores terrestres (along with Nocturnus), perhaps to be identified in Forculus, Limentinus and Cardea,[237] deities strictly related to Janus as his auxiliaries (or perhaps even no more than concrete subdivisions of his functions) as the meaning of their names implies: Forculus is the god of the forca , a iugum , low passage, Limentinus the guardian of the limes, boundary, Cardea the goddess of hinges, here of the gates separating Earth and Heaven.[238] The problem posed by the qualifying adjective terrestres earthly, can be addressed in two different ways. One hypothesis is that Martianus's depiction implies a descent from Heaven onto Earth.[239] However Martianus's depiction does not look to be confined to a division Heaven-Earth as it includes the Underworld and other obscure regions or remote recesses of Heaven. Thence one may argue that the articulation Ianus-Ianitores could be interpreted as connected to the theologem of the Gates of Heaven (the Synplegades) which open on the Heaven on one side and on Earth or the Underworld on the other.[240]

From other archaeological documents though it has become clear that the Etruscans had another god iconographically corresponding to Janus: Culśanś, of which there is a bronze statuette from Cortona (now at Cortona Museum). While Janus is a bearded adult Culśans may be an unbearded youth, making his identification with Hermes look possible.[241] His name too is connected with the Etruscan word for doors and gates.[242] According to Capdeville he may also be found on the outer rim of the Piacenza Liver on case 14 in the compound form CULALP i. e. "of Culśans and of Alpan(u)" on the authority of Pfiffig, but perhaps here it is the female goddess Culśu, the guardian of the door of the Underworld.[243] Although the location is not strictly identical there is some approximation in his situations on the Liver and in Martianus's system. A. Audin connects the figure of Janus to Culsans and Turms (Etruscan rendering of Hermes, the Greek god mediator between the different worlds, brought by the Etruscan from the Aegean Sea), considering these last two Etruscan deities as one.[244] This interpretation would then identify Janus with Greek god Hermes. Etruscan medals from Volterra too show the double headed god and the Janus Quadrifrons from Falerii may have an Etruscan origin.[245]

Association with non-Roman gods

The traditional ascription of the "Temple of Janus" at Autun, Burgundy, is disputed.

Romans and Greek authors maintained Janus was an exclusively Roman god.[246] This Roman pretence looks to be haphardous and excessive according to R. Schilling,[247] at least as far as iconography is concerned. The god with two faces appeared repeatedly in Babylonian art.[248] Reproductions of the image of such a god, named Usmu, on cylinders in Sumero-Accadic art is to be found in H. Frankfort's work Cylinder seals (London 1939) especially in plates at p. 106, 123, 132, 133, 137, 165, 245, 247, 254. On plate XXI, c, Usmu is seen while introducing worshippers to a seated god. Janus-like heads of gods related to Hermes have been found in Greece, perhaps suggesting a compound god.[249]

William Betham argued that the cult arrived from the Middle East and that Janus corresponds to the Baal-ianus or Belinus of the Chaldeans sharing a common origin with the Oannes of Berosus.[250]

P. Grimal considers Janus as a conflation of a Roman god of doorways and an ancient Syro-Hittite uranic cosmogonic god.[251]

The Roman statue of the Janus of the Argiletum, traditionally ascribed to Numa, was possibly very ancient, perhaps a sort of xoanon, as the Greek ones of the VIII century.[252]

Other analogous or comparable deities of the prima in Indoeuropean religions have been analysed by G. Dumézil.[253] They include the Indian goddess Aditi who is called two faced as is the one who starts and concludes ceremonies,[254] and Scandinavian god Heimdallr. The theological features of Heimdallr look similar to Janus's: both in space and time he stands at the limits. His abode is at the limits of Earth, at the extremity of the 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. Nonetheless he is inferior to sovereign god Oðinn: the Minor Völuspá defines his relationship to Oðinn almost with the same terms as which Varro defines that of Janus, god of the prima to Jupiter, god of the summa: Heimdallr is born as the firstborn (primigenius, var einn borinn í árdaga), Oðinn is born as the greatest (maximus, var einn borinn öllum meiri).[255] Analogous Iranic formulae are to be found in an Avestic gāthā (Gathas).[256] In other towns of ancient Latium the function of presiding on beginnings was probably performed by other deities of feminine sex, notably the Fortuna Primigenia of Praeneste.


In the Middle Ages, Janus was also taken as the symbol of Genoa, whose Medieval Latin name was Ianua, as well as of other European communes.[257] 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.

Cats suffering from the congenital disorder Diprosopus, which causes the face to be partly or completely duplicated on the head, are known as Janus cats[258].

See also

  • Diprosopus – congenital disorder whereby part or all of the face is duplicated on the head
  • Holism


  1. ^ Varro apud Augustine De Civitate Dei VII 9 and 3; Servius Aen. I 449; Paulus ex Festus s. v. Chaos p. 45 L
  2. ^ G. Capdeville "Les épithètes cultuelles de Janus" in MEFRA 85 2 1973 p . 399.
  3. ^ Paulus above : "Chaos appellabat Hesiodus confusam quondam ab initio unitatem, hiantem patentemque in profundum. Ex eo et χάσκειν Graeci, et nos hiare dicimus. Unde Ianus detracta aspiratione nominatur id, quod fuerit omnium primum; cui primo supplicabant velut parenti, et a quo rerum omnium factum putabant initium." Hesiod only reads (Theogonia 116): "Ή τοι μεν πρώτιστα Χάος γένετο..."; cfr. also Ovid Fasti I 103ff.
  4. ^ G Capdeville "Les épithetes cultuels de Janus" in Mélanges de l'école française de Rome (Antiquité) 85 2 1973 p. 399-400; Capdeville mentions also Varro apud Augustine, De Civitate Dei VII 8, who uses the word hiatus to explain the assimilation of Janus to the world : "Duas eum facies ante et retro habere dicunt, quod hiatus noster, cum os aperimus, mundus similis videatur; unde et palatum Graeci ουρανόν appellant, et nonnulli, inquit, poetae Latini caelum vocaverunt palatum, a quo hiatu oris et fores esse aditum ad dentes versus introrsus ad fauces". A reminiscence of the same etymololgy may also be detected in Valerius Messala augur's definition, apud Macrobius Saturnalia I 9, 14, that sounds as somehow related to Paulus's: "He who makes and rules everything, keeping together with the force of the covering heaven the heavy nature of earth and water collapsing into the deep with the light nature of fire and wind escaping into the boundless high."
  5. ^ Macrobius above I 9,8.
  6. ^ A. B. Cook Zeus. A Study in Ancient Religion Cambridge 1925 II p. 338-9 supposes two parallel series *Divianus, *Dianus, Ianus and Diviana (Varro Lingua Latina V 68), Diana, Iana (Varro De Re Rustica I 37, 3). This interpretation encounters the difficulty of the long i in Dīāna. G. Radke Die Götter Altitaliens Münster 1965 p. 147.
  7. ^ Ovid Fasti I 126-7; Macrobius, Saturnalia, I, 9, 11: "Alii mundum, id est caelum, esse voluerunt: Ianumque ab eundo dictum, quod mundum semper eat, dum in orbem volvitur et ex se initium faciens in se refertur: unde et Cornificius Etymorum libro tertio: Cicero, inquit, non Ianum sed Eanum nominat, ab eundo." it should be remarked that Cornificius's quotation from Cicero contains a mistake, as Cicero did not name a Eanum; Cicero De Natura Deorum II 67: "Cumque in omnibus rebus vim habent maxumam prima et extrema, principem in sacrificando Ianum esse voluerunt, quod ab eundo nomen est ductum, ex quo transitiones perviae iani foresque in liminibus profanarum aedium ianuae nominantur"." "As in everything the first and the last things have the greatest force, they wanted that Janus be the first in sacrificial actions, because his name is derived from going, from which fact previous passages are named iani and the hollows in the boundary of secular houses ianuae."
  8. ^ Taylor, Rabun, "Watching the Skies: Janus, Auspication, and the Shrine in the Roman Forum," Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome vol. 45 (2000): p. 1.
  9. ^ Objections moved by A. Meillet and A. Ernout to the possibility of this etymology have been rejected by most French scholars: E. Benveniste, R. Schilling, G. Dumezil, G. Capdeville. The enlargement of root *ey- into *ya- is well represented in Western IE, as e. g. in Irish āth ,*yā-tu-s ford: cf. J Pokorny Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch I Berne-Munich 1959 p. 296 s. v. i̯ā and Thesaurus linguae latinae s. v. ianus.
  10. ^ A. Meillet DELL s.v. Ianus; A. Ernout "Consus, Ianus, Sancus" in Philologica II 1957 p. 175: Ernout takes into consideration the legends of the Thessalic origin of Janus too.
  11. ^ C. Bailey; M. Renard; R. Schilling; G. Dumezil; G. Capdeville.
  12. ^ L. Preller-H. Jordan Römische Mythologie I Berlin 1881 3rd p. 166-184.
  13. ^ A. Schwegler Römische Geschichte I Tübingen 1867 2nd p. 218-223; A. Brelich "Vesta:Janus und Vesta" in Albae Vigiliae Zurich 1949 p. 28 ff. esp. p. 34 and 39; R. Pettazzoni "Per l'iconografia di Giano" in Studi Etruschi 24 1955-56 p. 79-90 esp. p. 89.
  14. ^ L. A. MacKay "Janus" in University of California Publications in Classical Philology 15 4 1956 p. 157-182.
  15. ^ J. S. Speÿer "Le dieu romain Janus" in Revue de l'histoire des religions 26 1892 p. 1-47 esp. p. 43.
  16. ^ M. Renard "Aspects anciens de Janus et de Junon" in Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire 31 1 1953 p. 5-21 esp. p.6.
  17. ^ O. Huth Janus. Ein Beitrag zur altrömischen Religionsgeschichte Bonn 1932.
  18. ^ W. H. Roscher Ausfürliches Lexicon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie II 1890-1894 col. 15-55 s. v. Ianus; P. Grimal "Le dieu Janus et les origines de Rome" in Lettres d'humanité IV 1945 p. 15-121: Janus would be a conflation of the Latin numen of the mystic Gate of Rome with a Syrian-Hittite sky god brought to Italy by the Etruscans; C. Bailey Phases in the Religion of Ancient Rome Berkeley 1932 p. 46-47: Janus would have developed from the animistic spirit of the door, ianua.
  19. ^ L. A. Holland "Janus and the bridge" in Papers and Monographs of the American Academy in Rome 21 1961 p. 231-3.
  20. ^ J. S. Speÿer above esp. p. 44; A. B. Cook Zeus a study in ancient religion II Cambridge 1925 p. 328-392; P. Grimal "Le dieu Janus et les origines de Rome" in Lettres d'humanité IV 1945 p. 15-121 esp. p. 118.
  21. ^ R. Schilling above p. 102 cites Lydus De Mensibus IV 2 who states that according to Varro the Etruscans called him Heaven; Augustine De Civitate Dei VII 7 identifies him with the world; Longinus and Messala cited by Lydus above IV 1, with time; Gavius Bassus with air and Hera (apud Lydus above IV 2).
  22. ^ Varro apud Augustine De Civitate Dei VII 9: "Penes Ianum sunt prima, penes Iovem summa... Janus rules over the first things, Jupiter over the highest ones. It is thence right that Jupiter be considered the king of everything, because accomplishment has the first place in order of importance (dignitas) even though it has the second in order of time".
  23. ^ M. Renard "Aspects anciens de Janus et de Junon" in Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire 31 1 1953 p. 6.
  24. ^ C. Bailey above p. 47.
  25. ^ F. Altheim History of Roman Religion London 1938 p. 194; V. Basanoff Les dieux des Romains Paris 1942 p. 18.
  26. ^ M. Renard above p. 6 against C. Bailey above p. 47.
  27. ^ Ovid Fasti I 257ff.; on the location of the Porta Ianualis cf. P. Grimal "Le dieu Janus et les origines de Rome" in Lettres d'humanité IV 1945 p. 41; "Le Janus de l'Argilete" in Mélanges d'archaelogie et d'histoire 64 1952 p. 39-58; G. Lugli Roma antica. Il centro monumentale Roma 1946 p. 82ff.; A. Boethius "Il tempio di Giano in imo Argileto" in Symbolae Philologicae Gotoburgenses Gotheborg 1950 p.23ff.
  28. ^ It is possible that the Tigillum was on the boundary of the pomerium, perhaps the eastern gate at the end of the decumanus of Rome before the inclusion of the Septimontium: cf. the repetition of the formula vel intra pomerium vel extra pomerium in Livy's record concerning the expiation of the Horatius (I 26, 6 and 11): R. Schilling "Janus. Le dieu introducteur. Le dieu des passages" in Mélanges d'archéologie et d'histoire 72 1960 p. 110, citing A. Piganiol in MEFR 1908 p. 233-82.
  29. ^ Paulus s.v. Ianiculum; L. Audin "Janus, le génie de l'Argilète" in Lettres d' Humanité X 1951 p. 54-5, 59, 71, 73.
  30. ^ C. Bailey Phases in the Religion of Ancient Rome Berleley 1932 p.46; Cicero De Natura Deorum II 67.
  31. ^ Ovid Fasti I 125-126: "I preside over the gates of Heaven together with the mild Hours: Jupiter himself goes and comes back by my working".
  32. ^ Pliny Naturalis Hstoria XXXIV 7; Macrobius Saturnalia I 9 10; Lydus I 4.
  33. ^ According to Varro, in the Carmen Saliare Janus is called "creator", as the initiator of the world itself. De lingua latina, VII, 26–27; Ovid Fasti I 117-20 states he is the ruler and mover of the universe.
  34. ^ Macrobius Saturnalia I 9, 2.
  35. ^ Ovid Fasti I 173-4.
  36. ^ Macrobius defines him Consivium, i.e. propagator of the human genre. Saturnalia, I, 9, 16.
  37. ^ Macrobius Sat. I 7, 22: the ship on the other face remembers the arrival of Saturn; cf. Ovid Fasti I 230-40.
  38. ^ Macrobius Saturnalia I 7, 20 and I 9, 4: Antevorta and Postvorta or Porrima are his associates deities in this function. Ovid Fasti I 133-40 states his double head means he as caelestis ianitor aulae, gatekeeper of the heavenly mansion, can watch both the eastern and western gate of heaven.
  39. ^ Ovid Fasti I 178-82:"Omens are in the beginnings, You turn your fearful ears to the first sound and the augur decides on the grounds of the first bird he has seen. The doors of the temples are open as well as the ears of the gods...and the words have weight".
  40. ^ L. Schmitz s.v. Janus in W. Smith above p. 550-551.
  41. ^ G. Dumezil "De Janus à Vesta" in Tarpeia Paris 1946 p. 33-113; M. Marconi Riflessi mediterranei nella piú antica religione laziale Milano 1940.
  42. ^ M. Eliade "Pour une histoire generale des religions Indo-europeennes" in Annales. Economie, Societé, Civilisations 1949 4 2 p. 183-191 esp. p. 189-90.
  43. ^ Cf. e.g. M. Eliade Traité d' histoire des religions Paris 1949 ; Le chamanisme et les techniques archaiques de l'ecstase Paris 1950 e. g. chapt. VI 1; It. tr. Rome 1974 p.210ff.
  44. ^ Macrobius Saturnalia I 9, 8-9; Cicero De Natura Deorum ii. 67.
  45. ^ A. Audin "Dianus bifrons ou les deux stations solaires, piliers jumeaux et portiques solsticiaux" in Revue de géographie de Lyon 1956 31 3 p. 191-198.
  46. ^ Horat. Carm. iv. 15. 8; Virg. Aen. vii. 607
  47. ^ Cf. V. Müller "the shrine of Janus Geminus in Rome" in American Journal of Archaeology 47 1943 p. 437-440; P. Grimal "Le Janus de l' Argilète" in Mélanges d'archéologie et d'histoire 64 1952 p. 39-58.
  48. ^ Livy, History of Rome, I, 19, 2;
  49. ^ Livy wrote in his Ab urbe condita that the doors of the temple had only been closed twice since the reign of Numa: firstly in 235 BC after the first Punic war and secondly in after the battle of Actium in 31 BC. Cf. Ovid Fasti I 121-4; 277-83.
  50. ^ Ovid above I 279-280; Virgil above.
  51. ^ Pliny Naturalis Historia XXXIV 33; Macrobius Saturnalia I 9 10; Varro apud Macrobius above I 9 16. R. Schilling above p. 115 remarks such a feature could have been added only after the julian reform of the calendar.
  52. ^ Silvae IV 3, 9-10: "...qui limina bellicosa Iani/ iustis legibus et foro coronat", "...who crowns the warlike boundaries of Janus with just laws and the Forum".
  53. ^ Macrobius I 9, 13; Servius Aen. VI 607; Lydus De Menisibus IV 1.
  54. ^ L. Adams Holland "Janus and the Fasti" in Classical Philology 1952 p. 139.
  55. ^ G Capdeville above p. 404-7.
  56. ^ Varro Lingua Latina VII 26 and 27.
  57. ^ This does not mean that there was any particular link between the Salii and Janus, contrary to what Lydus states in De MensibusIV 2, i. e. that the Salii were consecrated to the cult of Janus. R. G. Kent in the Loeb edition of Varro's De Lingua Latina 1938 p. 293 n. e states these verses were addressed to Mars.
  58. ^ References in A.B. Cook above II p. 329-331; a later attempt by J. F. K. Dirichs Die urlateinischen Reklamestrophe auf dem sogenannten Dresselschen Drillingsgefäss des sabinischen Töpfers Dufnos Heidelberg 1934 p. 30.
  59. ^ Correcting i for l: this reading is accepted by both Havet anf Dirichs above.
  60. ^ The interpretation "Cozeiuod orieso"="Conseuiod orieso" is Dirich's. Havet reads: "Cozeui adoriose" ="Conseui gloriose" on the grounds of Paulus's glossa s.v . adoria: "praise, glory deriving from the abundance of spelt (far)" p. 3, 22 L.
  61. ^ Capdeville follows L. Havet reading a future imperative of vorto; cf. Ovid Fasti I 119-120: "Me penes est unum vasti custodia mundi,/ et ius vertendi cardinis omne meum est", "It is only my own power the tutelage of the vast universe,/ and the right of turning its hinge is all mine".
  62. ^ G Capdeville above p. 405-406, following in part L. Havet "De Saturnio Latinorum versu" in BEPHE 43 Paris 1880 p. 243-251. "Let it begin from/with the Sower. Make everything turn, Patultius, Thou are the one/ Gatekeeper, Janus, are Thou, good creator are Thou, good Janus./ Let Him come, the most powerful of all 'em kings./ Sing Him the father (or part) of the gods, beseech the god of the gods./ Gatekeeper.
  63. ^ Ad Nationes II 11, 3. Cozeuiod, ablative case of Cozeuios, would be an archaic spelling of Consēuius: -ns> -nts> -ts> -z. Cf. Velius Longus Orthographia 8 p. 50, 9 and 51, 5 ed. Keil on the use of letter z in the carmen Saliare.
  64. ^ Festus s. v. pa p. 222L: "pa pro parte, po pro potissimum in Saliari carmine positum est": the correction patre for parte is allowed by Müller, by not by Lindsay.
  65. ^ Macrobius above I 12, 21-22.
  66. ^ Macrobius above I 16, 29.
  67. ^ Capdeville above p. 409.
  68. ^ Atheneus Deipnosophistes 15, 692d: Masurius says: "The god Janus is considered among ourselves also as our father."
  69. ^ Virgil Aen. VIII 357: "Hanc Ianus Pater , hanc Saturnus condidit arcem"; Horace Epistulae I 16, 59: " "Iane pater" clare, clare cum dixit "Apollo" "; Seneca ApolocyntosisIX 2: "primus interrogatur sententiam Ianus pater"; Arnobius Ad Nationes III 29: "Incipiamus ...sollemniter ab Iano et nos patre".
  70. ^ Macrobius above I 9, 14.
  71. ^ Paulus p. 109L; Probus In Vergilii Gergicae I 7; Servius ibidem.
  72. ^ Cf. Lydus Mag. I 16 p. 20, 24 W on Romulus and the patres called patricii, considered equivalent to ευπατρίδας ; similar confusion in other Greek authors as Plutarch Romulus XIII 2 and 3; Zonaras Histor. VII 3.
  73. ^ This hypothesis is advanced by L. Preller- H. Jordan Römische Mythologie Berlin 1881 2nd p. 171.
  74. ^ A. Ernout- A. Meillet Dict. Etym. de la langue latine 4th ed. s.v. p. 268-9.
  75. ^ bifrons (Vergil Aeneis VII 180; XII 198; Servius Aen. VII 607; Ausonius Eclogae X 2; Dom. VI 5; Prudentius Sym. I 233; Macrobius Saturnalia I 9, 4 and 13; Augustine De Civ. Dei VII 7,8 Isidorus Origines V 33, 3); biceps (Ovid Fasti I 65; Pontica IV 4, 23); anceps (Ovid Metamorphoses XIV 334; Fasti I 95); biformis (Ovid Fasti I 89; V 424).
  76. ^ Pliny above XXXIV 45; Plutarch Quaestiones Romanae 41, 274 e; Atheneus XV 692 e. For Italian coins cf. E. A. Sydenham The coinage of the Roman Republic London 1952 no. 8 p. 2 and plate 4 etc.
  77. ^ Livy I 19, 2; Pliny Naturalis Historia XXXIV 33; Servius Ad Aen. VII 607.
  78. ^ Cf. Vergil Aen. VII 607 on the analogous monument in the town of Latinus.
  79. ^ Ovid Fasti I 73-4; Macrobius above I 9, 9; Servius Aen. VII 610; Lydus above IV 2 p. 65, 7 W.
  80. ^ Servius Aen. VII 607; Macrobius Sat. I 9, 13; Augustin Civ. Dei VII 4, 8; Isidorus Origines VIII 11, 23.
  81. ^ Lydus above IV 1 p. 64, 4 W.
  82. ^ Macrobius above; Lydus above; Augustine above VII 8; VII 4.
  83. ^ R. Pettazzoni above p. 89: "A naïve iconographic expression of watching into the two opposite directions and thence, ideally, into every direction".
  84. ^ Ovid above I 117-8: "Quidquid ubique vides, caelum, mare, nubila, terras,/ omnia sunt nostra clausa patentque manu".
  85. ^ Macrobius above I 9, 7 considers this to be an attribute of Janus as gatekeeper: "...cum clavi et virga figuratus , quasi omnium portarum custos et rector viarum".
  86. ^ Lydus above p. 64, 2 W.
  87. ^ Ovid above I 131-2: "...nomina diversas significare vices".
  88. ^ Macrobius above I 7, 21.
  89. ^ Varro apud Gellius Noctes Atticae XVI 16, 4 in the form Porrima; L. L. Tels De Jong Sur quelques divinités romaines de la naissance et de la prophétie Leyden Delft 1959 p. 41-60. Another instance of opposite epithets in the indigitamenta is that of Panda and Cela referred to Ceres. J. Bayet " "Feriae Sementiuae" et les Indigitations dans le culte de Ceres et de Tellus" in Revue de l'histoiire des religions 137 1950 p. 172-206 part. p.195-197.
  90. ^ Varro Lingua Latina V 165: Livy I 19, 2; Pliny Naturalis Historia XXXIV 33.
  91. ^ Cf. Vergil Aen. VII 601-615.
  92. ^ Ovid above I 279-80; Servius Aen. I 291; Lydus IV 2 p. 65,17 W.; G. Capdeville above p. 420
  93. ^ G . Dumézil La religion romaine archaïque Paris 1966 p. 246-271; R. Schilling "Janus. Le dieu introducteur. Le dieu des passages" in Melanges d'archeologie et d'histoire 72 1960 p.119-120 citing G. Wissowa Religion und Kultus der Römer Munich 1912 p. 109; Paulus p. 43 L: "Romani a Quirino Quirites dicuntur"; Festus p. 304L: "...Quirites dicti, post foedus a Romulo et Tatio percussum, communionem et societatem populi factam indicant"."...are named Quirites after the community and society created because of the treaty made by Tatius and Romulus".
  94. ^ Lydus above:"πρόμαχος".
  95. ^ Cedrenus above.
  96. ^ Macrobius above I 9, 16: "Quirinus quasi bellorum potentem, ab hasta quam Sabini curin vocant".
  97. ^ Ovid above II 475-478.
  98. ^ Plutarch Romulus XXIX 1; Quaestiones Romanae XXVII 285 cd.
  99. ^ Paulus 43, 1 L.
  100. ^ L. Deubner Mitteilungen des deutschen archaelogisches Institut Berlin 36-37 1921-1922 p. 14ff.; W. F. Otto Pauly Real Enzyklopaedie der Altertumswissenschaften Supplem. III col. 1182.
  101. ^ Ovid above III 881-882; J.- C. Richard "Pax, Concordia et la religion officielle de Janus à la fin de la République romaine in MEFR 75 1963 p. 303-386.
  102. ^ Lucan Pharsalia I 61-2; Statius Silvvae II 3, 12.
  103. ^ G. Dumézil "Remarques sur les armes des dieux de la troisième fonction chez divers peuples indo-européens" in Studi e Materiali di Storia delle Religioni 28 1957 p. 1-10.
  104. ^ C. Koch "Bemerkungenzum römischen Quirinuskult" in Zeitschrift für Religions and Geistesgeschichte 1953 p.1-25.
  105. ^ Res Gestae Divi Augusti XIII; Suetonius Aug. XXII 5; Horatius Odes IV 15, 4-9.
  106. ^ Only Festus s. v. p. 204, 13 L, among the three sources relating this rite has the expression Ianui Quirino; Plutarch Marcellus VIII 9 and Servius (and Virgil himself) Aen. VI 859 have only Quirinus. This has led to disputes among scholars on the value of the expression and its antiquity as Verrius Flaccus may have forged it.
  107. ^ R. Schilling above p.128, citing Festus s. v. spolia opima p. 204 L.
  108. ^ Lydus above IV 2 p. 64, 18 W.
  109. ^ Ovid above I 128: "libum farraque mixta sale".
  110. ^ Paulus s.v. Ianual p. 93, 4 L.
  111. ^ J. Speÿer above p. 28.
  112. ^ Macrobius I 15, 9-10 and 19.
  113. ^ Servius Aen. VII 620-622; Ovid Fasti I ; Isidore Origines VIII 11, 69: "Iunonem dicunt quasi Ianonem, id est ianuam, pro purgationibus feminarum, eo quod quasi portas matrum natis pandat, et nubentum maritis".
  114. ^ M.Renard above p. 14-17.
  115. ^ G. Capdeville above p. 432.
  116. ^ Augustine above VII 2.
  117. ^ Augustine above VI 9: "Thus the same Varro starts mentioning and listing the gods from the conception of man, who have been given life from Janus"; VII 3: "...it is answered that Janus has in his power every start and therefore not without cause is he is ascribed that of the opening to conception".
  118. ^ The etymology from sero, albeit clear, presents a problem with the long first i of Consivius: this difficulty can be overcome if one considers Consēuius attested by Tertullian Ad Nationes II 11, 3 as the most ancient form. Tertullian though does not consider Conseuius an epithet of Janus but a theonym.
  119. ^ Paulus p. 36, 19 L; Tertullian De Spectaculis V 5; Arnobius Adversus Nationes III 23; Ausonius Eclogae XXIV 20; Servius Aen. VIII 636; Augustine above IV 11.
  120. ^ G. Capdeville above p. 434. Consus is a u theme word and the only adjective it formed is Consualia.
  121. ^ G. Capdeville above p. 435.
  122. ^ See below section on myths.
  123. ^ W. Otto Real Encyclopaedie Suppl. III column 1178-9; Festus s.v. Sororium tigillum p. 380, 5 L.; Dionysius Halicarnasseus Antiquitates Romanae III 22, 7-9; Scholiasta Bobiensis in Cicero Milo 7.
  124. ^ Livy I 26, 13; Paulus ex Festus p.399, 2 L ; Pseudo Aurelius Victor Vir. 4.
  125. ^ G. Dumézil Les Horaces et les Curiaces Paris 1942.
  126. ^ Livy I 26, 12: ...pecunia publica at public expenses.
  127. ^ M. Renard above p. 14.
  128. ^ R. Schilling "Janus, dieu introducteur, dieu des passages" in Melanges d' archeologie et d'histoire 72 1960 p. 109.
  129. ^ R. Schilling above citing Real Encyclopaedie s.v. calata comitia column 1330. Aulus Gellius Noctes Atticae XV 27, 2 has lictor curiatus .
  130. ^ For a thorough listing of the hypotheses advanced cf. A. Walde- J. B. Hoffmann Lateinische etymologisches Wörterbuch 1938 3rd p. 319 s.v.
  131. ^ Livy VIII 9, 6
  132. ^ Cato De Agri Cultura 141 and 143.
  133. ^ Acta Fratrum Arvalium ed. Henze p.CCXIV and 144ff.
  134. ^ Some scholars opine that the rex was Janus's priest, e.g. M. Renard "Aspects anciens de Jaanus et de Junon" in Revue belge de philologie et d' histoire 31 1 1953 p. 8. G. Dumézil disagrees as he considers the rex also and even more directly associated with Jupiter.
  135. ^ Scholiasta Veronensis Aen. V 241: "god of harbours and patron of doors".
  136. ^ Ovid Fasti I 178-182.
  137. ^ Ovid above 166-170.
  138. ^ Ovid above 187-190; Pliny Naturalis Historia XXIII 3, 13; Martial VIII 33; XIII 27.
  139. ^ Ovid Fasti I 127-8.
  140. ^ L. Schmitz in W. Smith Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology s.v. Ianus II p. 550-552 London 1890.
  141. ^ Ovid Fasti I 337-8.
  142. ^ Ovid above 334.
  143. ^ Macrobius Saturnalia I 15, 19.
  144. ^ Horace Sermones II 6, 20-23:"Morning Father or if you prefer being called in this (other) way, Janus, Thou with whom men start business and works, do open my poem".
  145. ^ G. Dumézil La religion romaine archaïque Paris 1974 part II chapt. 3: It. tr. Milano 1977 p. 293.
  146. ^ Veiano between the lakes of Bolsena and Vico, Giano dell'Umbria, Torgiano near Perugia, Iano near Volterra.
  147. ^ Paulus ex Festus s.v. P. L.
  148. ^ L. Adams Holland above.
  149. ^ P. Grimal above p. 40-43.
  150. ^ Paulus s. v. above : "Ianiculum dictum, quod per eum Romanus populus primitus transierit in agrum Etruscum". "It is named Janiculum because at the origin the Romans passed on to the Etruscan territory (ager)".
  151. ^ L. Adams Holland above p. 231-3.
  152. ^ Macrobius Saturnalia I 9 7: "But among us the name of Janus shows that he was the patron of all doorways, which is similar to Θυραίω. Indeed he is represented also with a key and a stick, as if he were the protector of all doorways and the ruler of all roadways; Ovid Fasti I 254-5.
  153. ^ J. Gagé"Sur les origines du culte de janus" in Revue de l'histoire des religions 195 1 1979 p. 8.
  154. ^ The two groups were of twelf people each. They stood under the patronage of the gods of the archaic triad: cf. Servius Aen. VIII 663 "...the Salii who are under the tutelage of Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus".
  155. ^ Livy I 20, 4.
  156. ^ Dionysius Halicarnasseus III 32, 4.
  157. ^ Tullus's vow included beside the institution of the Salii also that of the Saturnalia (perhaps along with the Consualia) and of the Opalia after the storing of the harvest: all festivals related to peace, fertility and plenty.
  158. ^ A passage of Statius Silvae V 2, 128, to be found in a poem in honour of his friend Crispinus, a Salius Collinus, suggests clearly the difference between the functions of the arms of Quirinus and those of Mars (and Minerva): "Mars and the virgin Actea shew the points...the arms of Quirinus ...shields born from the clouds and arms untouched by slaughter": the arms of Quirinus were peaceful.
  159. ^ Servius Aen. I 292 "Thence in the City there two temples of his, of Quirinus within the Urbs, as if protector but peaceful, another on the Via Appia outside the Urbs near the gate, as if warrior, or gradivus ": the gate is the Porta Capena; VI 860: "Quirinus is the Mars that presides over peace and is worshipped inside the city: in fact the Mars of war has his temple outside it". Regardless of the actual date of their foundation their location is archaic: for Quirinus cf. Paulus p. 303 L and for Mars Festus p. 204 L.
  160. ^ Suetonius Othon VIII 5: "He started the expedtion before it was ritually correct, without any care for religious praescriptions, but with ancilia moved and not yet stored "; Ovid Fasti III 395f.: "The arms move the fight: the fight is alien to the grooms, when they have been stored the omen shall be more propitious".
  161. ^ Lucan Pharsalia I 61-62: "Pax missa per orbem/ ferrea belligeri compescat limina Iani". Statius Silvae II 3,12: "belligerum Iani nemus".
  162. ^ Martial VIII 66, 11-12.
  163. ^ Ovid Fasti III 879-882: "...Janus is to be worshipped together with mild Concord and Safety of the Roman people and the altar of Peace".
  164. ^ Servius Aen. I 291: "It is a better reason that those who go to war desire the come back."
  165. ^ The Ancient give an armed and even military definition of Quirinus: Macrobius I 9 16; Ovid II 475-8; Plutarch Romulus 29, 1; Quaestiones Romanae 27; Paulus 43, 1 L. But while his armed character of is not in contradiction with the nature of Quirinus as well as of the gods of the third function, a definitely and exclusively martial character is unacceptable and looks to be a later development, due to the assimilation of Romulus with Quirinus. The legend of Romulus in the elements of his later life had a strong military connotation and this factv produced an alteration of the original character of Quirinus. According to G. Dumezil the interpretation Quirnus-Romulus happened through a different pathway, i. e. the divine twins myth, of which Romulus and Remus are an instance,: their myth is representative and belongs to the category of the gods of the third function, as e. g. the Dioskuri, the Asvin. Whatever the original nature of the Sabine Quirinus, in Rome this god had not originally a military structural function.
  166. ^ Festus p. 190 L.
  167. ^ Varro Lingua Latina VI 22; V 153; Plutarch Quaestiones Romanae 23.
  168. ^ Fasti I 277.
  169. ^ C. Koch above; R. Schilling above p. 124 n. 2.
  170. ^ Thus Ovid may conclude his passage devoted to Janus with the words "Janus, do make peace and those who administer it (Augustus and Germanicus) eternal." in Fasti I 287. Horace too mentions that Augustus closed the Ianum Quirini in Carmina IV 15, 9 and calls "Janus...protector of the peace" in Epistulae II 1, 255.
  171. ^ Livy I 26. Dionysius Halicarnasseus III 22.
  172. ^ CIL I 2nd p. 214: "Fasti Aru. ad Kal. Oct. : Tigillo Soror(io) ad compitum Acili"
  173. ^ Festus s. v. Sororium tigillum p. 380 L.: "Horatius duo tigilla tertio superiecto... subit".
  174. ^ Livy I 26, 6 and 11 repeates twice the formula vel intra pomerium vel extra pomerium.
  175. ^ G. Dumezil Myths romains I. Les Horaces et les Curiaces Paris 1942 p. 112.
  176. ^ M. Renard "Aspects anciens de Janus et de Junon" above p. 9 and ff. citing E. L. Shields Juno Northampton-Mass. 1926 p. 53.
  177. ^ Martianus Capella De Nuptiis II 149.
  178. ^ Paulus s.v. Sororium tigillum p. 399 L.
  179. ^ A. Grenier Les religions étrusque et romaine Paris 1948 pp. 115 and 131; R. Pettazzoni "Carna" in Studi Etruschi XIV 1940 p. 163ff.; Ovid Fasti VI 155
  180. ^ Roscher Lexicon s.v. Ianus col. 21-22.
  181. ^ Cf. Augustin De Civitate Dei VII 2 and 3.
  182. ^ R. Schilling above p. 97.
  183. ^ a b Ovid Fasti VI 101-130.
  184. ^ Ovid XIV 333ff.
  185. ^ M. Renard "Aspect anciens de Janus et de Junon" above p. 13-14.
  186. ^ G. Dumézil Fêtes romaines d'été et d'automn. Suivi par dix questions romaines "Question X. Theologica minora" Paris 1975 p. 223ff.
  187. ^ Ovid Fasti II 67-68.
  188. ^ In Greece Crane, Cranea is an epithet of Athens, meaning the rocky city; the Cranai are nymphs of rocks, or Naiads of springs. L. Rocci Dizionario Greco -Italiano Roma 1972 s. v.
  189. ^ Ovid Fasti VI 131-183.
  190. ^ Saturnalia I 7, 19ff.
  191. ^ Atheneus Deipnosophistes XV 46=692.
  192. ^ Wellman in R.E. Pauly-Wissowa V column 1663 no. 16 writes Drakon might have lived at the time of Augustus, R. Schilling thinks he lived only after Pliny the Elder. Cf. Plutarch Quaestiones Romanae 22 on Camise.
  193. ^ Aen. VIII 330.
  194. ^ Adversus Nationes III 29.
  195. ^ Walde-Hoffmann LEW s. v. Fons.
  196. ^ G. Wissowa Religion und Kultus der Römer Munich 1912 p. 221. Cf. Cicero De Legibus II 56.
  197. ^ Quaestiones Romanae 22.
  198. ^ Comparing this tradition with Strabon's passage in Geographia X 2, 12 (who cites Odyssea X 190-192) on the Ionians, French scholar J. Gagé has seen a Hyperborean origin of Janus, derived from the Protohellenes of Thessaly and the Pelasgians. Cf. J. Gagé "Sur les origines du culte de Janus" in Revue de l' histoire des religions 195 1 1979 p. 31-32.
  199. ^ Varro Lingua Latina V 156; Paulus ex Festus p. 105, 11 L.
  200. ^ Macrobius Saturnalia I 9, 17-18; Ovid Metamorphoses XIV 781-799; Fasti I 259-276; Servius Ad Aen. I 291; VIII 361; Myhtographus Vaticanus III 4, 9.
  201. ^ Macrobius Saturnalia I 7, 20.
  202. ^ Ovid Fasti I 265-276: Metamorphoses XIV 775-800.
  203. ^ Julius Capitolinus Gordianus XXVI 3.
  204. ^ Procopius De Bello Gothico I 25.
  205. ^ R. Schilling above p. 89.
  206. ^ J Gagé "Sur les origines du culte de Janus" in Revue de l'histoire des religions 195 1 and 2 p. 3-33 and 129-151.
  207. ^ E. Peruzzi "Un etruschismo del latino religioso" in RFIC 1976 p. 144-148.
  208. ^ Varro de Lingua Latina V 84: "Sic flamen Falacer a divo patre Falacre"; VII 45: "Falacer pater".
  209. ^ V. Basanoff "Evocatio. Etude d'un rituel militair romain" in Bibliotheque de l'Ecole d' Hautes Etudes. Sciences Religieuses 61 1947 p. 100ff. Falacrinae was the birthplace of emperor Vespasian.
  210. ^ On the wild olive used to make rolls cf. Festus s.v. termes, derived from Tarentine termite, wild olive tree. Ernout -Meillet DELL s.v.
  211. ^ Pliny Naturalis Historia II.
  212. ^ Pliny above XVI 122.
  213. ^ M. Delcourt Pyrrhus et Pyrrha Liège 1965; G. Colli La sapienza greca I Milano 1977 p. 27; 45-47; 431-434.
  214. ^ Liber memorialis VIII.
  215. ^ Macrobius I 11, 47-49; Ovid Fasti V 627-632.
  216. ^ Cf. scirpi rushes, balrushes a Prelatin word. Pliny Naturalis Historia VII 206; XVI 178; Festus s. v. p. 330 Müller; Plautus Rud. II 6, 39.
  217. ^ L. Adams Holland above p. 224ff.: conquests of Ancus Marcius; J. Gagé La chute des Tarquins et les debuts de la Republique roamine Paris 1976 p. 197 ff.
  218. ^ Ovid Metamorphoses XIV 334.
  219. ^ Vergil Aeneis XII 766ff.
  220. ^ G. Radke Die Götter Altitaliens Münster 1965 s.v. Olistene, or Olistine: the name might also be related to adjective olitana meaning vetusta extremely old: cf. Corpus glossatorum latinorum IV 264.
  221. ^ Dionysius of Halicarnassus I 61: Iasos would have unduely aspired to the union with Demeter; Diodorus Siculus V 49: Iasion is on the contrary asked for the union by Demeter and from it Plutos is born.
  222. ^ Objections by D. Briquel in MEFRA 88 1976 p. 44 against St. Weinstock in Journal of Roman Studies 1960 p. 112ff.
  223. ^ G. Franciosi Clan gentilizio e strutture monogamiche 2 Naples 1975; J. Gagé (on the question of supposedly incestuous marriages in the clan of the Papirii Papirius: Psedo-Plutarch Parallela Minora 28B) in Revue de droit français et étranger 1955.
  224. ^ G. Dumézil above p. 236-238.
  225. ^ On the arms of the gods of the third function cf. G. Dumézil "Remarques sur les armes des dieux de troisième fonction chez divers peuples indo-européens" in Studi e Materiali di Storia delle Religioni 28 1957 p. 1-10.
  226. ^ G. Wissowa Religion und Kultus der Römer Munich 1912 2nd p. 112.
  227. ^ Scholia Veronensia ad Aeneidem V 241.
  228. ^ G. Wissowa above.
  229. ^ Festus s. v. persillum p. 238 L. The persillum was a rediculum, small container in which the ointment was kept.
  230. ^ R. Schilling above p. 99 and n. 4, p. 120; G. Dumézil above part I chapt. 5 It. tr. p.237-238.
  231. ^ G. Dumézil "De Janus à Vesta" in Tarpeia Paris 1946 p. 33-113; "Vesta extrema" Questiunculae Indo-Italicae.12 in Revue d'études latins 391961 p. 250-257.
  232. ^ A. Brelich Vesta Zurich 1949 "Janus und Vesta" p. 28ff.
  233. ^ A. Maggiani "Placentia" apud M. Cristofani "Rivista di di epigrafia etrusca" in Studi Etruschi 49 1981 p. 235-283, numero 37, p. 263-267 and "Qualche osservazione sul fegato di Piacenza" in Studi Etruschi 50 1982 (but 1984) p. 53-88.
  234. ^ C. O. Thulin Die Götter des Martianus Capella und der Bronzeleber von Piacenza Giessen 1906 p. 22-24.
  235. ^ Above p. 263-4.
  236. ^ Lydus De Mensibus IV 2 : cf. also Varro Antiquitates Rerum Divinarum 16 fr. 230 Cardauns = apud Augustine De Civitate Dei VII 28.
  237. ^ S. Weinstock "Martianus Capella" in Journal of Roman Studies p. 106 n. 25 on the grounds of Varro apud Augustine above VII 2 and Johannes Scotus Eriugena Annotationes in Marcianum C. E. Lutz editor Cambridge Mass. 1939 reprint New York 1970 p. 29, 8.
  238. ^ Tertullian Idolatria XV 5; De Corona Militis XIII 9.
  239. ^ S. Weinstock "Martianus Capella" in Journal of Roman Studies p. 104 and 106 .
  240. ^ S. Weinstock above p. 106 n. 25; E. L. HighbargerThe gates of Dream. An archaeological examination of Vergil, Aeneid VI 893-899 Baltimore 1940; A. K. Coomaraswamy The Door in the Sky Princeton Univ. Press 1997; M. Eliade Shamanism. Archaic techniques of ecstasis Princeton Univ. Press 2004; G. Capdeville "Les dieux de Martianus Capella" in Revue de l'histoire des religions 213 3 1996 p. 293-4.
  241. ^ A. Pfiffig Religio Etrusca Graz 1975 p. 330-1.
  242. ^ E. Simon "Gods in harmony" in N. Thomas De Grummond (editor) Etruscan Religion Univ. of Texas Press 2006 p. 58. Cf. also goddess Culśu, the gatekeeper of the Underworld, holding a torch and a key, on the sarchophagus of Hasti Afunei from Chiusi.
  243. ^ A. Pfiffig above p. 330-331 on Culśu and p. 280 on Alpanu. In Capdeville's citation it looks the author is unaware of existence of two different gods named Culsans and Culśu respectively.
  244. ^ A. Audin above p. 96.
  245. ^ L. Schmitz in W. Smith above p. 551.
  246. ^ Ovid FastiI 90; Dionysius Halicarnasseus.
  247. ^ R. Schilling above p. 115.
  248. ^ A. Ungnad "Der babylonische Janus" in Archiv für Orientforschung 5 1929 p. 185.
  249. ^ J. Marcadé "Hermès double" in Bulletin de Correspondence Hellénique 76 1952 p. 596-624.
  250. ^ Royal Numismatic Society, Proceedings of the Numismatic Society, James Fraser, 1837
  251. ^ P. Grimal above p. 15-121.
  252. ^ P. J. Riis An introduction to Etruscan art Copenhagen 1953 p. 121.
  253. ^ G. Dumezil "Remarques comparatives sur le dieu scandinave Heimdallr" in Études Celtiques 1959 p. 263 -283; "De Janus à Vesta" in Tarpeia Paris 1947 p. 31-113 esp. p. 86-88.
  254. ^ Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa (Shatapathabrahmana)III 2, 4, 16 ubhayaḥtaśīrṣṇi and Eggeling's note.
  255. ^ Hyndluljóð strophe 37 and 40.
  256. ^ Yasna 45 first verses of strophes 2, 4 and 6.
  257. ^ T. O De Negri Storia di Genova Firenze 2003 p. 21-22.
  258. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/30/two-faced-cat-guinness-world-record


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