Myths and Folklore Wiki

Janus (Latin: IANVS, also known as Deivos Janus "DEIVOS IANVS", often shortened to Dianus "DIANVS"), is the Roman god of doorways, the beginnings, and the ends.[1]

In Mythology

Janus received the gift to see both future and past from Saturn in reward for the hospitality he received. This is why he is most often depicted as having two faces or heads, facing in opposite directions - similar heads of gods related to Mercury have been found in Greece, perhaps suggesting a compound god. These double-headed figures have precursors in Assyrian depictions of Oannes with a human head in front and a fish head behind.

Janus' most prominent remnant in modern culture is his namesake, the month of January (Januarius "IANVARIVS"), which begins the new year. Januarius is also an uncommon name, notably that of a Neapolitan saint.


  1. (Hamilton 1998, p. 44)