Temple of Janus Place Holder

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Bing, Aug 15, 2022.

  1. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I've been wanting a Nero Temple of Janus coin for a long time, but they always seem out of reach financially. I found this one at auction last month going for a very cheap price. If it wasn't for the auction fees and expensive shipping, it would be a great price. It's a rough example but it will suffice as a place holder until I can find one in better condition that won't break the bank.
    Nero 12.png
    AE As
    Obv: IMP NERO CAESAR AVG GERM. Laureate head right.
    Temple of Janus with latticed window on left and garlanded and closed double doors on right
    Struck at Rome 66 AD
    11.3g, 26.5mm

    Post any coins you deem appropriate.
    RIC 347; BMC 230; cf Sear 1974.
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  3. Curtis

    Curtis Supporter! Supporter

    Congrats! Finding a placeholder can be an oddly satisfying experience, relieving the stress of feeling one must find one, find one now, find it right now, get it, get it get ittt!

    My Nero Temple of Janus placeholder...
    It's apparently been holding its place for at least 8-10 years now! (Had it long enough I can't remember if I've fully IDed it, or where exactly I filed the coin or description...)
    0 Nero Temple of Janus AE As (Lucernae 5-Mar-14).jpg

    But I like being able to see the door details. Not quite sure if those are handles or "door knockers" (isn't there a better word for it?).

    The one below was sort of a "placeholder" that I've recently upgraded (but I still treasure it for its own unique reasons, and it fits multiple of my subcollections, including Roman Provincial countermarks).

    This coin was struck in Lokri Opuntii, time of Galba, with a very rare pair of countermarks (they always have one, but BCD suggested these two maybe "unique?"). Monogram ΛO (LO) for Lokri (GIC 620; RPC cm 743) plus head of Athena (?). Not sure when countermarks were struck (oddly, some host coins seem heavily worn, others remarkably fresh).

    BCD Lokris-Phokis 157-5, Locris, Locri.jpg

    For my "history of numismatic knowledge" collection, I've been trying to collect at least one coin from each of the 10 major catalogs of the BCD Collection. (And another highly specialized subcollection: "BCD Tributaries," major collections that were influenced by/partly built from coins from the BCD Collection.)

    This specimen was BCD Lokris-Phokis 157.5 (i.e., ex NAC 55 [8 Oct 2010], Lot 157 [part]). (Since then I've added 197 & 198, a nice pair of Phokian AR Hemiobols.) And later in the "Dr. F Jarman Collection: Mints of the Roman Empire (Part 1)" at Naumann 100 last year.

    Finally, my most recent placeholder.
    This is the only one I've had second thoughts about. It's a very rough, low-weight specimen due to heavy crystallization, but you can still recognize the underlying artistry by the engraver. Struck at Pergamon in the 280s ("lifetime" tet. of Lysimachos), and, I believe, from the famous "K" series (under the neck truncation, either a signature or control mark, it's been hotly debated).

    I've always wanted a Pergamene Lysimachos. After getting this one, I felt I could stop searching so hard. And probably saved myself a lot of money by not buying one of multiple thousand dollar nice ones. Also, it fits my sub-collection of "figures seated left" (or, for Breaking Bad & Better Call Saul fans: "the Saul Ballman Collection." "S'all Baal, man!").

    savoca lysimachos tetradrachm.jpg
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022
  4. Dafydd

    Dafydd Well-Known Member

    This my Temple of Janus,not a place holder but a lucky bid.

    Nero AD 54-68. Rome
    As Æ

    28 mm, 8,52 g

    IMP NERO CAESAR AVG GERM, laureate head right / PACE P R VBIQ PARTA IANVM CLVSIT / S - C, temple of Janus with latticed window on right and garlanded and closed double doors on left.
    very fine Ex-Savoca 97th Silver Auction
    RIC 347
    Interesting the weight variances with the example of @Bing ,mine being lighter.
    I'm wary of placeholders as a couple of times I've picked one up and within a week or so found an affordable better coin and wondered why I bothered. I call it serendipitous synchronicity...
    Curtis, randygeki, paschka and 8 others like this.
  5. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I can only hope.....
  6. The Meat man

    The Meat man Supporter! Supporter

    Nice! I have one like that. It's not perfect but it's plenty good enough for me!


    As for "placeholders" here's one - an Otho denarius. It's pretty poor, but hey, now I've got an Otho coin. I have no real interest in Otho beyond filling that spot in the Emperor's list, so I didn't feel like spending $500+ on a slightly more decent one!

  7. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Nice coin, Bing! Nice coins posted.

    Here's a Temple of Janus sestertius of Nero, Lugdunum mint, that I picked up in Besançon, France in 1992. It ain't a beauty by any means, but it's been filling the gap for 30 years now.

    D-Camera Nero Sestertius, Temple of Peace, Besançon 1992, 23 grams, 8-11-20.jpg
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2022
  8. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    The temple of Janus was one of the oldest temples of Rome. Several literary testimonies indicate its location with great precision: in the street known as the Argiletum just where it enters the Roman Forum, which means it was close to the Curia and the Basilica Aemilia. Late Roman traditions said it was first built early in the royal period, some said under Numa Pompilius or even Romulus! It is obvious that during the centuries of its existence it has been restored, refurbished or even entirely rebuilt but, curiously, none of these probable restorations is documented by any text.
    The rite consisting in opening or closing its doors originated in the royal period, was revived by Augustus and performed by later emperors, notably Nero, and for the last time by Gordian III as far as we know. This temple seems to have been still standing in the 5th or even 6th c. AD for there is a detailed description of it by Procopius: "the temple is entirely of bronze and was erected in the form of a square, but it is only large enough to cover the statue of Janus ... of bronze and not less than five cubits high".
    The only images of this temple we know are the ones visible on Nero coinage and on Commodus aurei and sestertii which display a different simplified view, an arched distyle shrine with the statue of Janus standing (not my coins !): temple janus commode.jpg

    The most detailed view is the one on the reverses of Nero's sestertii, showing the front with the gates closed and one of the side walls. There is no triangular pediment, which makes this temple a bit atypical. In an old article by Valentine Müller (American Journal of Archaeology 47.4, 1943, p.438), she found a parallel in an Etruscan stone urn of the 4th c. BC which looks very much like a model of a similar temple (but with a pediment):
    temple Janus Florence.jpg
    She thinks that Rome's Janus temple depicted on Nero coins should have been an Etruscan style temple that could date back to the 4th c. BC.

    Today this temple is a mystery for archaeologists. Texts tell us its precise location, and this sector has been investigated and excavated a number of times, every stone and brick fragment has been analysed and discussed. But no trace of anything, even an emptied foundation ditch, has never been observed that could be related to the famous Temple of Janus which was right there, we know it! It is very frustrating...

    A last thing : my temple of Janus. It is not a sestertius but just an as. I remember I spent two hours bargaining and discussing the price with a Tunisian dealer near Carthage. The coin was uncleaned yet but the guy swore on his grandmother's life it was surely very nice under that crust. The discussion was lasting and never ending, and my girlfriend who was with me (and who is not at all interested in Roman coins) was bored, but heroically suffered in silence, such is the power of love.
    Néron as.jpg
  9. Limes

    Limes Well-Known Member

    Nice coins! Here's mine, no filler. I like the details on the reverse. Hope you may find a better specimen in due time, @Bing.

  10. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    I had no idea that the Commodus Janus temple was the same (simplified) as on the Nero AEs - very useful to know! Thank you for sharing that!

    A while back I lucked into a Commodus sestertius with Janus (no Nero though) - it is pretty wretched, but these are rather scarce, so it is probably not upgradable with my budget:

    Commodus Sest. Janus temple Apr 2019 (0).jpg
    Commodus Æ Sestertius
    (186 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    M COMMODVS ANT P FELIX AVG BRIT, laureate head right / [P M TR P XI IMP VII] around, COS V PP below, domed distyle temple w. Janus standing facing,
    holding sceptre, SC across fields.
    RIC 460; Cohen 489; Sear 5780.
    (24.77 grams / 30 mm)
    eBay April 2019
    Curtis, randygeki, paschka and 2 others like this.
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