Jano (em latim Janus) foi um deus romano que deu origem ao nome do mês de Janeiro.

Jano tinha duas faces, uma olhando para a frente e outra para trás, e dele derivam os nomes da Montanha Jano e o Rio Jano, pois ele viveu na montanha. Ele foi o inventor das guirlandas, dos botes, e dos navios, e foi o primeiro a cunhar moedas de bronze; por isso, em várias cidades da GréciaItália e Sicília, suas moedas trazem, de um lado, um rosto com duas faces, e do outro, um barco, uma guirlanda ou um navio.

Ele se casou com sua irmã Carmese, e teve um filho chamado Aethex e uma filha chamada Olistene. Desejando aumentar o seu poder, ele navegou até a Itália e se instalou em uma montanha próxima de Roma, chamada Janiculum por causa dele.

Era o porteiro celestial, sendo representado com duas cabeças, representando os términos e os começos, o passado e o futuro. De fato, era o responsável por abrir as portas para o ano que se iniciava; como toda e qualquer porta, se volta para dois lados diferentes. Por isso é conhecido como “Deus das Portas”.

Também era o deus das indecisões, pois na mitologia uma cabeça falava de uma coisa e a outra cabeça falava de outra coisa completamente diferente.


Vous pouvez lire Janus. Le dieu introducteur. Le dieu des passages, par R. Schilling, 1960 dans le lien suivant:



Janus: two-headed Roman god of doors and beginnings.

The temple of Janus in Rome was situated in a street named Argiletum, an important road that connected the Roman Forum and the residential areas in the northeast. It was a small, wooden temple, and the building material suggests that the cult of Janus was of a venerable old age. This is confirmed by several facts. The oldest lists of gods usually began with his name; he was surnamed divom deus, a very ancient form of Latin meaning “the god’s god”; and his portrait can be found on the oldest Roman coins. Janus was, therefore, a very old and important Roman god. Before every sacrifice, he was invoked and received a libation.

Republican coin, showing the god Janus. Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Roma (Italy). Photo Jona Lendering. Republican coin, showing the god Janus (Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Roma)

But this does not mean that modern scholars really understand the cult of the god of doors (ianuae) and beginnings. Neither did the Romans themselves. During the reign of the emperor Augustus (27 BCE – 14 CE), they started to connect things with the cult of Janus that originally had nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, we have hardly any texts that antedate this period, which makes it impossible to reconstruct the original cult. The only thing we know about it, is that the god was also venerated in several other towns in the Tiber valley.

Republican coin showing Janus, c.225-212 BCE; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien (Austria). Photo Jona Lendering. Republican coin, c.225-212; (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien)

The temple in the Argiletum consisted of two gates; the cult statue was between them. It was a very ancient statue; the author Pliny the Elder mentions it as proof that the sculptor’s art existed in Italy in the earliest times (Natural history 36.58). The god was portrayed with two bearded heads. The fingers of his hands were placed in strange positions, which Pliny interpreted as an indication of the number 355, which he thought was a reference to the number of days of the oldest Roman calendar. This may be true, but it is, of course, pure speculation.

Other speculations are mentioned by Plutarch of Chaeronea, a Greek author living in the early second century, but using a source that can be dated between 29 and 25 BCE:

Janus also has a temple at Rome with double doors, which they call the gates of war; for the temple always stands open in time of war, but is closed when peace has come. The latter was a difficult matter, and it rarely happened, since the realm was always engaged in some war, as its increasing size brought it into collision with the barbarous nations which encompassed it round about. But in the time of Augustus it was closed, after he had overthrown Marc Antony; and before that, when Marcus Atilius and Titus Manlius were consuls, it was closed a short time; then war broke out again at once, and it was opened.

[Plutarch, Life of king Numa 20.1-2
tr.Bernadotte Perrin]
Herm of Janus. Villa Giulia, Rome (Italy).Herm of Janus (Villa Giulia, Rome;©!!!)Plutarch goes on to say that during the reign of the legendary king Numa, the gates were always closed, and that Numa had invented the rule that they were to remain open in wartime. But this can not be true. In the fifth and fourth centuries, there were several warless years, but the gates were not closed; and we simply do not know why Manlius closed the gate in 235 BCE. The legend about Numa is not found in our sources until a century later (Calpurnius Piso, fragment 9).The emperor Augustus wrested the legend from oblivion. In his autobiography, he tells:

It was the will of our ancestors that the gateway of Janus Quirinus should be shut when victories had secured peace by land and sea throughout the whole empire of the Roman people; from the foundation of the city to my birth, tradition records that it was shut only twice [by Numa and Manlius], but while I was the leading citizen the Senate resolved that it should be shut on three occasions.

[Augustus, My achievements 13;
tr. P. Brunt and J. Moore]
The gate was locked for the first time in January 29, after Augustus had defeated Marc Antony and Cleopatra, and again in the autumn of 25, when the Spanish Cantabrians were subdued. The Christian author Orosius states that the gates of Janus were closed for the third time in 1 BCE, and remained closed for no less than twelve years (History of the world against the pagans 6.22). This tells more about Orosius’ theological than historical interests: during the twelve years of Christ’s childhood, the Romans were involved in several wars (e.g., in Germania, where they suffered a famous defeat in the Teutoburg Forest). The truth is that we do not known when the gates were closed for the third time.

The poet Virgil helped the emperor invent the tradition. In the Aeneid, the national epic of the Romans, the simple fact that every consul left the Roman Forum through the Argiletum (Rome’s most important road) is blown up to an ancient ritual:

There was a sacred custom in Latium, Land of the West, which the Alban Cities continuously observed, and Rome, supreme in all the world, observes today when Romans first stir Mars to engage battle, alike if they prepare to launch war’s miseries with might and main on Getae, Hyrcanians, or Arabs, or to journey to India, in the track of dawn, and to bid the Parthians hand our standards back. There are twin Gates of War, for by that name men call them; and they are hallowed by men’s awe and the dread presence of heartless Mars. A hundred bars of bronze, and iron’s tough, everlasting strength, close them, and Janus, never moving from that threshold, is their guard. When the senators have irrevocably decided for battle, the consul himself, a figure conspicuous in Quirine toga of State and Gabine cincture, unbolts these gates, and their hinge-posts groan; it is he who calls the fighting forth, then the rest of their manhood follows, and the bronze horns, in hoarse assent, add their breath.

[Virgil, Aeneid, 7.601-615
tr. W.F. Jackson Knight]
In another passage, Virgil explains the meaning of the ritual closing of the gates:

The terrible iron-constricted Gates of War shall shut; and safe within them shall stay the godless and ghastly Lust of Blood, propped on his pitiless piled armory, and still roaring from gory mouth, but held fast by a hundred chains of bronze knotted behind his back.

[Virgil, Aeneid, 1.293-296]
In other words: the gates were closed to keep War in. However, Virgil’s contemporaries an colleagues Ovid and Horace state exactly the opposite: it is Peace that is kept inside the temple of Janus (Ovid, Fasti1.281; Horace, Epist. 2.1.255). To make things more complex, Augustus also built an Altar of Peace.

Coin showing the closed gates of Janus at the age of Nero. Valkhof Museum, Nijmegen (Holland). Photo Marco Prins.Closed gate of Janus (Valkhof Museum, Nijmegen)In spite -or rather: because- of this ambiguity, the closing of the Gates of War was a powerful symbol. Later emperors used it as well. After Nero‘s general Corbulo had defeated the Parthians, the ruler shut the doors in 66. Coins with the legend PACE Popvlis Romanis VBIQve PARTA IANVM CLVSIT (“He closed the gate of Janus when the Roman people everywhere enjoyed peace”) were struck to commemorate this occasion. In 75, it was Vespasian‘s turn.

The historian Eutropius informs us that Gordian III opened the doors in 241. We are forced to accept that the gates had been closed for almost 170 years. If the doors had been open all the time and a second-century emperor had closed them, he would have minted coins, and archaeologists would have found these. But they have not been discovered, and this forces us to accept that the gates were closed, even though emperors like TrajanMarcus Aurelius and Septimius Severuswere well-known warriors.
In the meantime, the cult had changed. The emperor Domitian had changed the old cult statue and replaced it with a bust with four heads, which oversaw four forums: the Forum of Peace, the Forum Transitorium, the Forum of Julius Caesar, and the Roman Forum. This is told by the poet Martial (Epigram 10.28.5-6), and his words enable us to establish the place of the temple in the immediate neighborhood of the Senate building (Curia Julia). Excavations in 1997-2000 did not result in a more precise identification of the foundation of the wooden shrine (instead, a monumental farm from the age of Charlemagne was discovered).

Imperial coin, showing the god Janus.Imperial coin, showing Janus  (©!!)The temple of the Argiletum with the Gates of War was not the only place where the Romans worshipped Janus. On the other side of the Tiber, an altar was dedicated to this god on the ‘hill of Janus’ (Ianiculum). A second altar was erected on the hill Oppius, which played a role in the ceremonies when a boy became a man. Consul Marcus Duillius built a temple on the Vegetable’s Market (Forum Holitorium), after his naval victory off Mylae (260 BCE). It was rebuilt by the emperor Tiberius. In this temple, twelve altars were erected, dedicated to the twelve months (one of them, January, was perhaps called after the god). Finally, there was the Arch of the four-faced Janus, Janus Quadrifrons, at the Velabrum.

The arch of Janus Quadrifrons. Photo Marco Prins.

Arch of Janus Quadrifrons

texto e fotos retirados deste site

…e o texto inicial em português, bem como os dados abaixo, da nossa boa e velha Wikipedia, que é sempre mais  incompleta em português que nas outras línguas que conheço….


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

The first one is grounded into a detail of the definition of Chaos given by Paul the Deaconhiantemhiare, 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. 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.

Another etymology proposed by Nigidius Figulus is related by MacrobiusIanus 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. 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 CiceroOvid and Macrobius which explains the name as Latin deriving it from the verb ire (“to go”). 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-“.). 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.

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

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. 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, the sun,[13] the moon, time, movement, the year, doorways, bridges, etc.) or see in the god a sort of cosmological principle, i. e. interpret him as a uranic deity.

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

The function of god of beginnings has been clearly expressed by numerous ancient sources, among them most notably perhaps by Cicero, Ovid and Varro. 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. He has under his tutelage the stepping in and out of the door of homes, the ianua, which took its name from him, and not vice-versa. 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. He is also present at the Sororium Tigillum, where he guards the terminus of the ways into Rome from Latium. He has an altar, later a temple near thePorta Carmentalis, where the road leading to Veii ended, as well as being present on the Janiculum, a gateway from Rome out to Etruria.

The connexion of the notions of beginning (principium) and movement and transition (eundo), and thence time, has been clearly expressed by Cicero. 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. 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. He presides over the concrete and abstract beginnings of the world, such as religion and the gods themselves, 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. He is the initiator of the human life, 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.

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. 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.

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

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 AgniAvestic ArmaitiAnâitâ 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 . 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 ofdeus 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. 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. The figure of the IE initial god (Vâyu, VayuMainyu, 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 CiceroJanus 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.

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.

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.


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 TertullianPatultius: 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): father of the gods (or part of the gods); diuum deus: god of the gods; ianitos: the Janitor, Gatekeeper.

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. When he is invoked along other gods usually only he is called pater.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. 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. 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. There is no evidence connecting Janus to gentilician cults or identifying him as a national god particularly venerated by the oldest patrician families.

Geminus is the first epithet in Macrobius ‘s list. Even though the etymology of the word is unclear, it is certainly related to his most typical character, that of having two faces or heads. The proof are the numerous equivalent expressions. The origin of this epithet might be either concrete, referring directly to the image of the god reproduced on coins and supposed to have been introduced by king Numa in the sanctuary at the lowest point of the Argiletum, 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. The Janus quadrifrons or quadriformis, brought according to tradition from Falerii in 241 BC and installed by Domitian in the Forum Transitorium,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.

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. 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. Elsewhere Lydus cites the epithet θυρέος to justify the key held by Janus. The antithetic quality of the two epithets is meant to refer to the alternance of opposite conditions and is commonly found in the indigitamenta: Macrobius cites the instances of Antevorta and Postvorta in relation to Janus who are the personification of two indigitations of Carmentis. These epithets are associated with the ritual function of Janus in the opening of the of the Porta Ianualis or Porta Belli.The rite might go back to times predating the founding of Rome. 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.

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. 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, Cedrenus, Macrobius, Ovid, Plutarch and Paul the Daecon. 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 PaxConcordia and Salus, 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 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. 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. 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.

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. 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.

The epithet Ποπάνων (Popanōn) is attested only by Lydus, 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 and by Paul. This cake was named ianual but the related epithet of Janus could not plausibly have been Ianualis: it has been suggested Libo 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. 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. 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. 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.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” . 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. 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.” Lydus understands Consivius as βουλαιον (consiliarius) owing to a conflation with Consus throughOps Consiva or Consivia. The interpretation of Consus as god of advice is already present in Latin authors 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.

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. This is one of the features of Janus as shown by the myth that associates him with Carna, CardeaCrane.

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 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. 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. 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. R. Schilling 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 is considered unacceptable by M. Renard for the different quantity of the u, brief in curiatius as well as in curisCuritis 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.


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. For the same reason too everybody devoted a short time to his usual business exchanged dates, figs and honey as a token of well wishing and gifts of coins called strenae. Cakes made of spelt (far) and salt were offered to the god and burnt on the altar. Ovid states that in most ancient times there were no animal sacrifices and gods were propitiated with offerings of spelt and pure salt. 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.

Beginning of the day

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


Janus was also involved in the spatial aspect of transitions as that of presiding over home doors, city gates and boundaries. However Janus was the protector of doors, gates and roadways in general, as is shown by his two symbols, the key and the staff. The key too was a sign that the traveller had come to a harbour or ford in peace in order to exchange his goods.


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 AquilonFavonius 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.

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 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.