Definitions for janusˈdʒeɪ nəs
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
a Roman god of doorways and beginnings, usu. represented as having a head with two faces looking in opposite directions.
Origin of Janus:
< L, special use of jānus doorway, archway, arcade
(Roman mythology) the Roman god of doorways and passages; is depicted with two faces on opposite sides of his head
The god of gates and doorways; having two faces looking in opposite directions.
A moon of Saturn.
Origin: From Ianus.
a Latin deity represented with two faces looking in opposite directions. Numa is said to have dedicated to Janus the covered passage at Rome, near the Forum, which is usually called the Temple of Janus. This passage was open in war and closed in peace
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions, thence also of gates, doors, passages, endings and time. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. The Romans named the month of January in his honor. Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict, and hence war and peace. The doors of his temple were open in time of war, and closed to mark the peace. As a god of transitions, he had functions pertaining to birth and to journeys and exchange, and in his association with Portunus, a similar harbor and gateway god, he was concerned with travelling, trading and shipping. Janus had no flamen or specialized priest assigned to him, but the King of the Sacred Rites himself carried out his ceremonies. Janus had an ubiquitous presence in religious ceremonies throughout the year, and was ritually invoked at the beginning of each one, regardless of the main deity honored on any particular occasion. The ancient Greeks had no equivalent to Janus, whom the Romans claimed as distinctively their own. Modern scholars, however, have identified analogous figures in the pantheons of the Near East. His name in Greek is 'Ιανός.
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