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Janus

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In the Ancient Roman pantheon, Janus was known as the god of doorways, gates and all manner of entrances. Among the Roman deities he has a highly distinguished position and is looked to, by his worshippers, almost as strongly as the central Roman gods. One feature which sets him apart from any other god is that on each side of his head is a complete human face, sometimes even depicted as having two separate heads, each facing opposite directions. In addition to being able to see everything around him, Janus was gifted by the god Saturn with the remarkable ability to see both the future and the past.

Janus's importance in Roman society cannot be overstated. Not only did he guard the homes of all Roman families, but it was he who had his main temple given the secondary function of showing whether Rome was at peace or at war. The doors of the temple would be kept open during war so that Janus himself could more easily watch over the Roman people. Furthermore, he held a strong place in the heart of all Romans, as he is one of their few deities to have no analogous counterpart in any other religion.


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