Janus (Roman God)

Janus, a Roman deity worshiped with utmost affection and veneration. He is regarded the most ancient king of Italy, a ruler of wisdom and moderation, on account of which he was deified and the first month of the year was named in his honor. Being endowed with knowledge of all the past and the future, he was able to adopt the wisest measures for the welfare of his subjects, and, on this account, is represented in statuary with two faces — the one looking to the past and the other to the future. Instead of building temples to Janus, he was honored by all the gates of the cities being dedicated to him. The most massive gate thus dedicated was at the Forum of Rome, which was open only in the time of war. However, Roman wars were so numerous and extended that the gates of this sanctuary were closed only three times within 700 years. In ancient paintings he is represented as the doorkeeper of heaven, bearing a key in one hand and a rod and scepter in the other.

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