Featured The temple of JANUS

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix, Oct 18, 2020.

  1. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    OCTOBER 18th 17 AD. The temple of Janus, near the Theatre of Marcellus and recently rebuilt, is dedicated.

    The temple of Janus , Janus Geminus, is mentioned by a great number of ancient writers: Horace, Ovid, Plutarch, Cassius Dio, Servius etc. It's real origin remain unknown, but my favorite version is this one : according to legend, the orinal temple of Janus was built either by Quirinus or Romulus. The ancient writer Macrobius (400 AD) noted that, during the Sabine wars, the enemy were rushing into Rome through the Porta Janualis when they were overwhelmed by a vast torrent of boiling water which impetuously flowed from the Janus' temple. From then it was decreed that as Janus had come to their help during a time of war the doors should remain open...

    The temple contained a statue of the god with the right hand showing the number 300 and the left the number 55—i.e., the length in days of the solar year. We can not situate its exact location, but it is possible to estimate its approximate size. The frontal view of the shrine on Nero's aurei presents a facade roughly half again as tall as its width. The historian Procopius (550 AD) reported that the walls were just high enough to enwrap the five-cubic statue of Janus in it. The facade dimensions, then, may have been around 6 by 9 roman feet.

    Front view of the temple. (Not my coin !)

    The three-quarters views of the shrine on Nero's Sestertiii, Dupondii and Asses indicate that the sides were at least as long as the width of the facade, maybe a bit longer; so the footprint is likely to have been 6 X 9 feet or less. Procopius also claimed that the structure was entirely made of bronze. From the coinage we can see that it had 2 doors opposite each other; these doors were arched and flanked by 2 columns; the two other walls consisted of four courses of ashlar work with with a grating above; then came a frieze with scroll decoration and another one with palmettes which ran all around the building . The existence of an horizontal roof is still debated but a large window can be noticed on the side.

    A nice 3/4 view with the window. (Again not my coin)

    Another 3/4 view with so many details. (Definitely not my coin)

    About the meaning of the opening and closing of the doors, the philosopher Plutarch (100 AD) wrote : " 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". In another passage, the poet Virgil, a contemporary of the Emperor Augustus, 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". (Aeneid 1, 293-296)

    During the reign of the famous king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, the doors of the Ianus Geminus were opened to indicate that Rome was at war and closed during times of peace. Since the time of Numa and before the time of Nero, the doors were said to have been closed only in 235 BC, after the first Punic war; and three times during the reign of Augustus; the first time was in 29 BC, after Augustus had defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra: " Nevertheless, the action which pleased him more than all the decrees was the closing by the senate of the gates of Janus, implying that all their wars had entirely ceased". (Cassius Dio LI, 20) The second closure happened in 25 BC, when the Spanish Cantabrians were subdued : " After these achievements in the wars Augustus closed the precinct of Janus, which had been opened because of these wars". (Cassius Dio LIII, 26) The last time probably occurred in 13 BC based on the joint return of Augustus and Agrippa to Rome after pacifying the provinces.

    Augustus closing the Janus' temple. Louis de sylvestre, 1757. (Not my painting)

    According to Ovid, the doors were closed once again under Tiberius. Thus, when in 65 peace generally had been established on the empire’s fronts, Nero did not hesitate to close the temple’s doors. He marked the event with great celebrations and struck by the mints of Rome and Lugdunum a large and impressive series of coins to document this rare event. Another famous closures also occurred under the Emperor Vespasian in 70 AD.
    The historian Eutropius informs us that Gordian III opened the doors in 241 AD. He wrote : " After Gordian, when quite a boy, had married Tranquillina at Rome, he opened the temple of Janus, and, setting out for the Parthians, who were then proceeding to make an irruption." (Eutropius Short History 9.2).
    There is a theory about the fact that the gates may had been closed for almost 170 years. Neither history nor numismatics tells us that any emperors of the 2nd century would have opened the doors, and this forces us to accept that the gates were closed, even though emperors like Trajan, Marcus Aurelius and Septimius Severus were well-known warriors.
    So time to show-off now. Please present us your Nero's coins featuring the temple of Janus !

    (My coin this time !)
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    Nero As sestertius Rome Obv Head of Nero right laureate Rv. Temple of Janus. RIC 267 65 AD 25.47 grms 35 mm Photo by W Hansen. It is interesting that the images from Lugdunum are somewhat more ornate than those from the mint of Rome. neros4.jpeg
  4. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I'm afraid I have no ancient coins to post on this subject, but here's an interesting British medal presenting Bonaparte's escape from Elba as a smashing of the doors of the Temple of Janus. It's No. 32 in the James Mudie series of 40 medals issued in 1820, commemorating British Military and Naval Victories and other significant events during the Napoleonic Wars.

    Great Britain, Napoleon's Flight from Elba/Congress of Vienna, 1815 (struck 1820). Obv. French eagle with thunderbolt (symbolizing Napoleon) approaches the French coast, Isle of Elba in background, to left TEMPLUM. JANI (Temple of Janus), its doors lying broken (symbolizing the breaking of peace), four-sided Janus on roof. In exergue: XXVI. FEBRUARY MDCCCXV. / Rev. Mercury, displaying a scroll inscribed TO ARMS, flying over globe carrying the news of Napoleon's flight, DECLARATION OF THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA. In exergue: XIII MARCH. By N.G.A. Brenet/ A.J. Depaulis. AE 41 mm., 41.8 g. Mudie 32, Eimer 1064, BHM 869, Bramsen 1597.

    Mudie 32 Obv 1 Napoleon Flight from Elba.jpg

    Mudie 32 Congress of Vienna Rev. 3.jpg
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
  5. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    This type had been on my list for a long time, and I actually just added one earlier this month. Great write-up!


    Nero, AE As , (26.6mm., 10.94g). NERO CAESAR AVG GERM IMP Laureate head l. / Rev. PACE P R VBIQ PARTA IANVM CLVSIT Temple of Janus with latticed window to left and closed doors to right; S-C across fields. RIC 307.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
  6. Alegandron

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

    Here is the God inside the Temple... Janus, himself, making an appearance...

    RR M Furius LF Philus AR Denarius 119 BCE Janus Trophy Carnyx Cr 281-1 Sear 156

    Roman Republic
    AR Quadrigatus Didrachm Heavy Denarius 215-213 BCE
    20.5mm, 5.6g
    OBV: Beardless Janiform (thought to represent the Dioscuri being beardless)
    REV: Iupiter and Victory in galloping quadriga RIGHT (hence the Quadrigatus designation instead of Didrachm), ROMA in linear frame
    REF: Sear 32; Crawford 29/3
    +VGO.DVCKS, singig, Shea19 and 10 others like this.
  7. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Here is Janus in a temple on a sestertius issued by Commodus. I wonder if the image on my coin is the arched doorway part of the temple (to the right) shown on the Nero issue (doors open)? Hmmm.

    Commodus Sest. Janus temple Apr 2019 (0).jpg

    Commodus Sest. Janus temple Apr 2019 (0x).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)
    +VGO.DVCKS, singig, Shea19 and 12 others like this.
  8. Alwin

    Alwin Supporter! Supporter


    NERO, Sestertius
    Rome, 65
    26.38 g - 33.5 mm
    C 145 - RIC 264
    NERO CLAVD CAESAR.AVG.GER.PM TR P IMP PP, Laureate bust right, wearing aegis.
    PACE PR TERRA MARIQ PARTA IANVM CLVSIT, Temple of Janus, door closed, SC
    The doors of Janus have been closed after peace has been procured for the Roman People on the land and on the sea.
    +VGO.DVCKS, ominus1, singig and 12 others like this.
  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I have long wanted a sestertius like the one shown by Alwin but only have asses. The one below is a bit unusual in using the sestertius legend rather than the shorter version replacing 'land and sea' with 'everywhere' (ubique).

    As I recall, someone here has an as with the temple engraved upside down in relation to the legend placement. That was obviously an error. My one below shows the temple facing the opposite direction. I have no idea if this was intentional or just a matter of not reversing the design as usual.
  10. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

  11. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    This is one of my favorite Nero As, Temple of Janus, Rome mint, 10.9gm, RIC 1 309. [​IMG]
  12. eparch

    eparch Well-Known Member

    and another as upload_2020-10-19_19-17-30.png
  13. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I'm glad people enjoyed seeing this medal -- not ancient, but it's certainly in the then-popular classicizing mode, and harks back to ancient themes. I thought of it immediately when I saw this thread. At one time I had a nice collection of Mudie medals, perhaps 35 of the 42. I sold most of them about 3 or 4 years ago, but this was one of the half-dozen I couldn't bring myself to part with, along with my one example in silver, which I posted a few months ago in the World Coins forum. It shows Napoleon surrendering to the HMS Bellerophon after Waterloo. See https://www.cointalk.com/threads/napoleon-surrenders-to-the-british-after-waterloo.357637/ If anyone wants to see what the rest of the series looks like, there are photos of all of them at http://www.historicalmedals.com/mudie.htm . The chapter on the Flight from Elba medal in Mudie's own book about the series, published at the same time as the medals (I have an original copy of it, which I kept), can be read at https://www.google.com/books/edition/An_Historical_and_Critical_Account_of_a/2cpcAAAAcAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&bsq="It is impossible to deny" .
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
  14. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    I enjoyed your medal post very much as fascinated by the history evolving around this temple quite a few examples here's another post I'm not sure whether you have seen it or not.....https://www.cointalk.com/threads/17th-century-temple-of-janus-propaganda.333365/
    +VGO.DVCKS and DonnaML like this.
  15. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Ancient Aussie and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  16. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    2 temple of Janus sestertii...

    7FjtCz55c8iGDoR6i3fY9sTktA2Bj4.jpg cc25552a.jpg cc25552b.jpg
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page