The Roman God Janus
The way of the Romans was to adopt various elements from other cultures and civilisations. This included the Roman religion which was highly influenced by the Ancient Greek religion and gave the Greek God names the equivalent Roman names. The Roman priests then adopted the mythology or stories about the Gods and Goddesses and evolved a Roman Gods Family tree detailing how each of the Roman Gods and Goddesses, like Janus, were related. Greek and Roman religion and mythology therefore become closely entwined.
Myths about the Roman God Janus
Mythology surrounding Janus
The mythology and information about the Roman God Janus
Jurisdiction: Janus was described as being the Roman God of the doors, beginnings and endings
Mythology: Mythical Family Tree or Relatives: Janus was believed to be the God of Doors, beginnings and endings. Cardea was the "Lady Protectress" and the Goddess of Door Hinges who was often in company of Janus
Depiction / Description / Symbol: Janus was usually depicted with two heads looking in opposite directions symbolizing change and transitions. His symbols were doors and gates
Name of equivalent Greek God: No Greek Equivalent
January 9 was the festival of Agonalia, in honor of the god Janus, after whom the month January is named and to whom the Romans prayed for advice
Sacrifices to Janus - During sacrifices to the Roman gods the sex of the victim had to correspond to the sex of the god to whom it was offered. White animals were given to the gods of the upper world whereas black victims to the gods of the underworld
Roman Mythology and Information about Janus
Janus was the porter of heaven. He opens the year, the first month being named after him. He was the guardian deity of gates, on which account he was commonly represented with two heads, because every door looks two ways. His temples at Rome were numerous. In war time the gates of the principal one were always open. In peace they were closed; but they were shut only once between the reign of Numa and that of the Emperor Augustus.
The Temple of Janus
Numa Pompilius (r.716-673) erected the temple of Janus in Rome. The Temple of Janus was a square building, some say it was made entirly of brass, so large as to contain a statue of Janus, five feet high, with brazen gates on each side, which were kept open in war, and shut in time of peace. The Temple of Janus was closed for the third and last time in Roman history as the Romans believed that Augustus Caesar had brought them peace.
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