17th Century Temple of Janus Propaganda

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ancient Aussie, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    It seems some things seem to last forever, most of us ancient Roman collectors know that the temple of Janus dates back to Rome's earliest years. During Numa's reign, the Gates of the Janus were closed and Rome remained at peace. The next king, Tullus Hostilius, opened the Gates of the Janus when he went to war with Alba Longa. The Gates of Janus remained open for the next 400 years until after the First Punic War when T. Manlius Torquatus closed the Gates of the Janus in 235 BC. This closure lasted about eight years. War with the Gauls in Northern Italy forced the Gates of the Janus to reopen. They did not close again until 29 BC, following the deaths of Antony and Cleopatra.
    But fascinated with this Jeton/token I picked up a couple of weeks ago struck in the time of French Emperor Louis XIV in 1681, he thought it necessary to re-produce Temple of Janus propaganda for the French populace to ease tensions after 30 years of war culminating in Strasbourg being annexed to France after a bloodless surrender.
    65 AD
    2015-01-07 01.07.50-19.jpg 1681 AD
    Temple Janus 1681.jpg
    Catalog: Feuardent 12708
    Material: Brass, Weight: 7.3gm.
    Diameter: 27.00 mm
    LOUIS XIV - Alsace Propaganda jeton struck in 1681 to celebrate the surrender of Strasbourg. On reverse: the temple of Janus, closed, to mean it is now peace time. LegendsLOUIS LE GRAND ROY DE FRANCE IEN AY LA CLEF (='j'en ai la clé', i.e. I keep its key) Uneven color on reverse.

    A brief history of Strasbourg below.........
    The first traces of permanent human settlement on the site of Strasbourg date back to 1300 BC. The Celts developed a city there towards the end of the 3rd century BC and named it Argentorate. Julius Caesar’s Roman troops reached the shores of the Rhine in 58 BC and built a fortified military camp near the city which they renamed “Argentoratum”. Around 20 AD, a growing population of almost 10,000 saw the small city get promoted to the rank of military colony, and this was the retreat at each defeat of the Roman army in the regions on the other side of the river. In 260 AD, the Romans left Germania and Argentoratum became a border city once again.
    in September 1681, Strasbourg surrendered to Louvois, without so much as a single cannon being fired, quite by surprise and at a time when there were no hostilities. Alsace and France were definitely reunited.
    At the surrender of Strasbourg, Louvois (minister for war and responsible for governing Alsace) had agreed to respect the rights of Protestants, as was stipulated in the treaty of Munster. However, when the catholic mass was celebrated anew in Strasbourg cathedral in the presence of Louis XIV, this symbolic act was done deliberately to show the inhabitants that their town was no longer a Protestant stronghold.

    Interestingly there were a couple of other coins in this period touting the Temple of Janus one 20 years earlier.
    Temple of Janus with closed doors; on the architrave, GAL.M.F. (= the Kingdom of France at Peace ).NETHERLANDS, The Dutch Republic. Amsterdam . Plaquettepenning, or Hollow medal (Silver, 69mm, 68.80 g 12), on the Peace of the Pyrenees between France and Spain;
    And one 16 years later.
    Peace of Ryswick, silver medal, 1697, by R. Arondeaux, the emperor Leopold I, Louis XIV of France, William III of Nassau, Carl XII of Sweden before the temple of Janus, a burning altar in front, caesa firmabant foedera porca., rev. view of the palace and the gardens of Ryswick surrounded by arms of the countries involved, 45.99g, 49 mm, (MI ii 453), toned, extremely fine.

    Would love to see any French Jetons/Tokens or Temple of Janus coins. Or anything related.

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  3. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Wonderful coins and great information.. I had no idea that the Temple of Janus had such a lasting influence... thank you for posting!!!
    Ancient Aussie likes this.
  4. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    I have a modest example with an unusual minting error - most probably showing that the legends were cut by a different person than the artist cutting the Temple image:


    As you can see the " S C " is reversed and the word "CLVSIT" (meaning closed) is at the 12 o'clock position ... as opposed the the coin posted above (by the OP) with "CLVSIT" at the 6 o'clock position...

    Inverting the coin shows the legend in the correct alignment:


    Nero. A.D. 54-68. Æ as. 9.7 gm. 28 mm. Rome mint. Struck circa A.D. 67. His laureate head right; IMP NERO CAESAR AVG GERM / The Temple of Janus, garland hung across closed doors to left, latticed windows on right; PACE P R VBIQ PARTA IANVM CLVSIT around; S C to either side. Sear 689. The doors of the Temple of Janus were only closed during times of peace throughout the Roman Empire. This was not a frequent occurrence. Nero was the only emperor to depict the temple on coins, and the fact that the doors are shown as closed is most likely a political statement, not a factual one.

    Reverse errors: SC reversed.. reverse legend starts at top right (2 o’clock) – unusual.


    PACE = peace
    PR = Populus Romanum = People of Rome
    VBIQ (short for VBIQUE) = everywhere
    PARTA = doors
    IANVM = nominative case - place of Janus
    CLVSIT = closed

    The grammatical rendering is variable, but broadly goes something like this: "Since the Pax Romana [Peace of the Roman People] is everywhere on land and sea, the doors of the temple of Janus he closed." The sense of temple instead of place is implied by the accompanying depiction of the temple itself.

    Curtis Clay of Harlan Berk amends the translation with the explanation that PARTA is not "doors", but the past participle of "pario", "bring forth, produce, acquire". Thus the translation correctly reads:

    "The Peace of the Roman People having been established everywhere, he closed (the Temple of) Janus."

    MY COIN:


    (but temple arch to L)

    Sear 689


    " (bust R)

    " (but temple arch to L)
  5. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    WOW, that's one hell of an unusual coin you have there, probably vary rare, congrats on picking up on the difference.
  6. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Oh I had some help with that! But yes - I am very happy to have this coin in my modest collection.
    Ancient Aussie likes this.
  7. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Great write-up @Ancient Aussie ! Super coins.

    JANUS himself...

    RR Anon AR Heavy Quinarius Quadrigatus Drachm 216-214 BCE Janus ROMA Jupiter Victory Quadriga LEFT Cr 29-4 S 35

    HEAVY DENARIUS minted after 400 years of war, during the brief 8-year spell when the doors were CLOSED:
    Roman Republic
    Anonymous AR Heavy Denarius (10 Asses) / Didrachm
    6.63g, 20mm, 12h
    Rome mint, 234-231 BCE
    Obv: Laureate head of Apollo right
    Rev: Horse prancing left, ROMA above.
    Ref: Sear 28; Crawford 26/1; RSC 37
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
  8. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Fascinating! I love it when ancient and modern coin design can be tied together.
    Ancient Aussie likes this.
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