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Janus ... and Geta


ambr0zie
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Perhaps the coin I was most eagerly waiting for, from my last auction, finally arrived, was the one I am going to discuss in this thread, but first let's see an overview of Janus.

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus  is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, frames, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces. The month of January is named for Janus (Ianuarius).

Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict, and hence war and peace. The gates of a building in Rome named after him (not a temple, as it is often called, but an open enclosure with gates at each end) were opened in time of war, and closed to mark the arrival of peace. As a god of transitions, he had functions pertaining to birth and to journeys and exchange, and in his association with Portunus, a similar harbor and gateway god, he was concerned with travelling, trading and shipping.

Numa built the Ianus geminus (also Janus Bifrons, Janus Quirinus or Portae Belli), a passage ritually opened at times of war, and shut again when Roman arms rested. It formed a walled enclosure with gates at each end, situated between the old Roman Forum and that of Julius Caesar, which had been consecrated by Numa Pompilius himself. About the exact location and aspect of the temple there has been much debate among scholars. In wartime the gates of the Janus were opened, and in its interior sacrifices and vaticinia were held, to forecast the outcome of military deeds. The doors were closed only during peacetime, an extremely rare event. The function of the Ianus Geminus was supposed to be a sort of good omen: in time of peace it was said to close the wars within or to keep peace inside; in times of war it was said to be open to allow the return of the people on duty.

A temple of Janus is said to have been consecrated by the consul Gaius Duilius in 260 BC after the Battle of Mylae in the Forum Holitorium. It contained a statue of the god with the right hand showing the number 300 and the left the number 65—i.e., the length in days of the solar year, and twelve altars, one for each month.

The four-sided structure known as the Arch of Janus in the Forum Transitorium dates from the 1st century of the Christian era: according to common opinion it was built by the Emperor Domitian. However American scholars L. Ross Taylor and L. Adams Holland on the grounds of a passage of Statius maintain that it was an earlier structure (tradition has it the Ianus Quadrifrons was brought to Rome from Falerii) and that Domitian only surrounded it with his new forum. In fact the building of the Forum Transitorium was completed and inaugurated by Nerva in AD 96.

Janus had no flamen or specialised priest (sacerdos) assigned to him, but the King of the Sacred Rites (rex sacrorum) himself carried out his ceremonies. Janus had a ubiquitous presence in religious ceremonies throughout the year. As such, Janus was ritually invoked at the beginning of each ceremony, regardless of the main deity honored on any particular occasion.

The ancient Greeks had no equivalent to Janus, whom the Romans claimed as distinctively their own.

So a deity with heavy symbolistics attached; related to war and peace, beginnings and endings, gates, passings. Present on coins since Republic times, rarely found on imperial coins. And most important - specific to Romans (being confused by some Janiform coins in Greek coinage, I thought there is a counterpart in Greece also, but this is wrog)

Here is a Nero coin with the Janus building showing closed doors - symbol of peace (not my coin)

image.png.1f0e9d24659c900217ac760973bffcea.png

Now in regards to the coin I won, I was just checking a live auction after buying a few interesting coins, to see if anything worthy reveals, even if I thought I checked everything. When seeing it appear I thought 1. A Geta as Augustus (didn't have any imperial coins with Geta as Augustus and I wanted one) 2. Excellent condition and this usually means expensive coins so I tend to skip them, especially if they appear AFTER I got my targets

image.png.cf35fe8d66036600e3e64b4a5c3e43bc.png

But since I really liked the coin I decided to have a go, especially since the price was encourangingly decent and manage to win it. Only after checking it closer I realized this is not a "plain" Jupiter coin.

GETA. (209-212).Rome. Denarius. 18 mm, 3.1 g
Obv: P SEPT GETA PIVS AVG BRIT. Laureate head right. / Rev : TR P III COS II P P. Janus standing facing, holding sceptre and thunderbolt.
BMC 12; RSC 197a; RIC 79

Many boxes ticked with this coin - it's from Geta as Augustus (and pairs nicely with my Geta as Caesar, as a young man, I just need a Geta as child to make an Imperial set); it has an uncommon deity; and, even if this is not one of my important criteria, the condition is excellent (I would say XF). Condition is not the reason I collect coins, I am very happy with a Fine as long as the coin is interesting for me, but if I manage to get an interesting coin in a good condition, why skip it?

This is the first Janus reverse in my collection. I have 2 obverses and 1 Greek janiform.

image.png.be19a95e98ebf2f3ab0f09037f1e076a.png

As Æ
27 mm, 14,23 g
RRC 197-8B/1b
Date Range: 157 B.C. - 156 B.C.
Obv: Laureate head of Janus; above, mark (I) / Rev [ROMA], Prow, right; before, denominational mark; below, inscription.

image.png.bfccea9272164dcdff971b8b7d382ede.png

Macedon. Thessalonica circa 187-131 BC.
Bronze Æ 20 mm., 5,19 g.
Head of Janus R/ ΘEΣΣAΛONIKHΣ, the Dioscuri riding in opposite directions. SNG Cop 369

(this coin is however strange, my only hypothesis is that Roman influence was already predominant)

I also have an archaic Tenedos obol, that is not related to Janus but the term "janiform" is used just to describe the concept

image.png.0ef5f87d883abcb43b3790f16fc46494.png

Islands off Troas, Tenedos AR Obol. Circa 5th Century BC. Janiform head of female, facing left, and bearded male (Philonome and Tenes), facing right / Labrys (double axe) within shallow incuse; T-E across fields. SNG München 340; SNG Copenhagen 509; HGC 6, 387; SNG von Aulock 7666.

 

Please post anything you feel relevant: Janus coins (I would like to see reverses with Janus, Janus buildings...) or, like I usually "request" side themes, coins you bought towards the end of the auctions, after reaching your targets, but you suddently realized a coin cannot be skipped even if you failed to notice it before.

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That is a particularly nice Geta. I did collect Geta as Augustus coins for a while and owned about 17 of them at one point but lost interest along the way.

Your Janus is much nicer than than the example I had....

RI_068ag_img.jpg

My favourite was.

RI_068ab_img.jpg

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That's a wonderful coin, @ambr0zie! I'm glad you were able to add it to your numophylacium at a good price!

I have but a single Janus coin. I hope you all aren't tired of looking at it.

[IMG]
Anonymous, Second Punic War, 218-202 BC.
Roman Republican Æ as, 27.8 g, 31.1 mm, 1 h.
Uncertain mint south of Rome (Campania?).
Obv: Laureate head of bearded Janus, I above.
Rev: Prow of galley, right; I above, ROMA below.
Refs: Group D1, McCabe, Andrew. "The Anonymous Struck Bronze Coinage of the Roman Republic" in Essays in honour of Roberto Russo / ed. by Peter G. van Alfen and Richard B. Witschonke. - Zürich ; London : Numismatica Ars Classica NAC, 2013, pp. 141-144.

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A female Janus  :classic_cool:

 

normal_G_381_Lampsakos.jpg.de53a01bdce4bc57013358f516c34036.jpg

Lampsakos, Mysia
AR Tetrobol
4th-3rd centuries BC.
Obv.: Janiform female heads
Rev.: Helmeted head of Athena right
Ag, 2.49g, 12.4mm
Ref.: SNG France 1175–6

 

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3 minutes ago, shanxi said:

A female Janus  :classic_cool:

It is very interesting that Janus had no Greek counterpart but there are a lot of janiform coins, like this and the Tenedos one I posted.

Obviously ancient people were able to imagine double heads, but it is still interesting.

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2 hours ago, Roman Collector said:

I have but a single Janus coin. I hope you all aren't tired of looking at it.

A couple of months ago I had no Janus coins. Now I have a couple I seem to get to post them all the time, even though they're worn as anything 😁

Roman Republic A. Caecilius As, 169-158BCimage.png.833aa69ac892475d82e319e985972fdc.png

Rome. Bronze, 31-33mm, 28g. Laureate 2-faced Janus, I (value) above. Prow of galley right, I before, A CÆ above, (ROMA below) (Syd 355; Cr174/1). Purportedly found on farmland in East Anglia in 1948.

Cunobeline Later Bronze Trinovantian W Unit, 9-40image.png.5b6c55fb7afeee13405e26162e7102f7.pngCamulodunon (Roman Camulodunum, modern Colchester). Bronze, 14mm, 2.19g. Janiform head; CVNO below. Sow seated right beneath a tree; CAMV on panel below (ABC 2981; S 346; V 2105).

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7 hours ago, ambr0zie said:

Perhaps the coin I was most eagerly waiting for, from my last auction, finally arrived, was the one I am going to discuss in this thread, but first let's see an overview of Janus.

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus  is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, frames, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces. The month of January is named for Janus (Ianuarius).

Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict, and hence war and peace. The gates of a building in Rome named after him (not a temple, as it is often called, but an open enclosure with gates at each end) were opened in time of war, and closed to mark the arrival of peace. As a god of transitions, he had functions pertaining to birth and to journeys and exchange, and in his association with Portunus, a similar harbor and gateway god, he was concerned with travelling, trading and shipping.

Numa built the Ianus geminus (also Janus Bifrons, Janus Quirinus or Portae Belli), a passage ritually opened at times of war, and shut again when Roman arms rested. It formed a walled enclosure with gates at each end, situated between the old Roman Forum and that of Julius Caesar, which had been consecrated by Numa Pompilius himself. About the exact location and aspect of the temple there has been much debate among scholars. In wartime the gates of the Janus were opened, and in its interior sacrifices and vaticinia were held, to forecast the outcome of military deeds. The doors were closed only during peacetime, an extremely rare event. The function of the Ianus Geminus was supposed to be a sort of good omen: in time of peace it was said to close the wars within or to keep peace inside; in times of war it was said to be open to allow the return of the people on duty.

A temple of Janus is said to have been consecrated by the consul Gaius Duilius in 260 BC after the Battle of Mylae in the Forum Holitorium. It contained a statue of the god with the right hand showing the number 300 and the left the number 65—i.e., the length in days of the solar year, and twelve altars, one for each month.

The four-sided structure known as the Arch of Janus in the Forum Transitorium dates from the 1st century of the Christian era: according to common opinion it was built by the Emperor Domitian. However American scholars L. Ross Taylor and L. Adams Holland on the grounds of a passage of Statius maintain that it was an earlier structure (tradition has it the Ianus Quadrifrons was brought to Rome from Falerii) and that Domitian only surrounded it with his new forum. In fact the building of the Forum Transitorium was completed and inaugurated by Nerva in AD 96.

Janus had no flamen or specialised priest (sacerdos) assigned to him, but the King of the Sacred Rites (rex sacrorum) himself carried out his ceremonies. Janus had a ubiquitous presence in religious ceremonies throughout the year. As such, Janus was ritually invoked at the beginning of each ceremony, regardless of the main deity honored on any particular occasion.

The ancient Greeks had no equivalent to Janus, whom the Romans claimed as distinctively their own.

So a deity with heavy symbolistics attached; related to war and peace, beginnings and endings, gates, passings. Present on coins since Republic times, rarely found on imperial coins. And most important - specific to Romans (being confused by some Janiform coins in Greek coinage, I thought there is a counterpart in Greece also, but this is wrog)

Here is a Nero coin with the Janus building showing closed doors - symbol of peace (not my coin)

image.png.1f0e9d24659c900217ac760973bffcea.png

Now in regards to the coin I won, I was just checking a live auction after buying a few interesting coins, to see if anything worthy reveals, even if I thought I checked everything. When seeing it appear I thought 1. A Geta as Augustus (didn't have any imperial coins with Geta as Augustus and I wanted one) 2. Excellent condition and this usually means expensive coins so I tend to skip them, especially if they appear AFTER I got my targets

image.png.cf35fe8d66036600e3e64b4a5c3e43bc.png

But since I really liked the coin I decided to have a go, especially since the price was encourangingly decent and manage to win it. Only after checking it closer I realized this is not a "plain" Jupiter coin.

GETA. (209-212).Rome. Denarius. 18 mm, 3.1 g
Obv: P SEPT GETA PIVS AVG BRIT. Laureate head right. / Rev : TR P III COS II P P. Janus standing facing, holding sceptre and thunderbolt.
BMC 12; RSC 197a; RIC 79

Many boxes ticked with this coin - it's from Geta as Augustus (and pairs nicely with my Geta as Caesar, as a young man, I just need a Geta as child to make an Imperial set); it has an uncommon deity; and, even if this is not one of my important criteria, the condition is excellent (I would say XF). Condition is not the reason I collect coins, I am very happy with a Fine as long as the coin is interesting for me, but if I manage to get an interesting coin in a good condition, why skip it?

This is the first Janus reverse in my collection. I have 2 obverses and 1 Greek janiform.

image.png.be19a95e98ebf2f3ab0f09037f1e076a.png

As Æ
27 mm, 14,23 g
RRC 197-8B/1b
Date Range: 157 B.C. - 156 B.C.
Obv: Laureate head of Janus; above, mark (I) / Rev [ROMA], Prow, right; before, denominational mark; below, inscription.

image.png.bfccea9272164dcdff971b8b7d382ede.png

Macedon. Thessalonica circa 187-131 BC.
Bronze Æ 20 mm., 5,19 g.
Head of Janus R/ ΘEΣΣAΛONIKHΣ, the Dioscuri riding in opposite directions. SNG Cop 369

(this coin is however strange, my only hypothesis is that Roman influence was already predominant)

I also have an archaic Tenedos obol, that is not related to Janus but the term "janiform" is used just to describe the concept

image.png.0ef5f87d883abcb43b3790f16fc46494.png

Islands off Troas, Tenedos AR Obol. Circa 5th Century BC. Janiform head of female, facing left, and bearded male (Philonome and Tenes), facing right / Labrys (double axe) within shallow incuse; T-E across fields. SNG München 340; SNG Copenhagen 509; HGC 6, 387; SNG von Aulock 7666.

 

Please post anything you feel relevant: Janus coins (I would like to see reverses with Janus, Janus buildings...) or, like I usually "request" side themes, coins you bought towards the end of the auctions, after reaching your targets, but you suddently realized a coin cannot be skipped even if you failed to notice it before.

Ozie, Congrats on spotting the janiform head on the reverse, I probably would have missed it ☺️! I do have one nice portrait coin of the mature Geta, from Antioch, Syria.

1860785390_2420232-002AKCollection.jpg.821745cfdafc026450d2bf6a09a32c09.jpg

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Great new acquisition, @ambr0zie  Janus on Imperial coins is a tough guy to find.  I have a few plug-uglies - you're going to have to take my word on it for a couple of these slugs:

The best of an ugly lot - a Commodus sestertius:

1108955256_CommodusSest.JanustempleApr2019(0aaa).jpg.ea557b859d070e9a08cd1f2c5450c0fd.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  

Antoninus Pius as - 

1151383447_AntoninusPius-AsJanuslotMay2022(0).jpg.78ff72e9c3ba64d3a9485eac908964c2.jpg

Antoninus Pius   Æ As (140-144 A.D.) Rome Mint [ANTO]NINVS AVG [PIVS P P], laureate head right / [TR POT COS III], S  C Janus standing front, head left and right, holding sceptre RIC III 693a; BMCRE 1369; Cohen 882. (6.95 grams / 23 mm) eBay April 2022       

Hadrian as - the new RIC usually has interesting things to say about Hadrian's coins, as here:   

1437698008_Hadrian-AsJanuslotMay2022(0).jpg.61919098cf7d44c801061eca9736040f.jpg

Hadrian  Æ As (124-125 A.D.) Rome Mint [HADRIANVS] AVGVSTV[S], laureate bust right (slight drapery? Busts vary this issue) / [COS III] [S]C, Janus Quadrifons standing facing, faces left and right, holding sceptre. RIC II, 3 748 (RIC 662-663). (11.42 grams / 25 x 24 mm) eBay May 2022     Lot @ $5 BIN  

Note:  "The Janus can have the very early bust form...it suggests the transition to the new legend had occurred in the New Year, with Janus commemorating January of this significant year of image change or perhaps just heralding the start of a peaceful New Year following truce with Parthia."  Roman Imperial Coinage II.3: From AD 117 to AD 138 – Hadrian, page 16.

Those second two are barely identifiable, and might be wrong, but even if you can't see Janus's two-faced head, the way he stands and is dressed makes him somewhat recognizable (sort of like Jupiter, but on the coins, usually with a few differences). 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

@Marsyas Mike-good lot of Janus imperials! This is what I wanted to see, as I knew Janus on imperials is rare.

I like the Commodus the most. Probably it's your favorite from these too. Is it bronze disease on the obverse? If so I think you should act quickly. 

Edited by ambr0zie
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43 minutes ago, ambr0zie said:

@Marsyas Mike-good lot of Janus imperials! This is what I wanted to see, as I knew Janus on imperials is rare.

I like the Commodus the most. Probably it's your favorite from these too. Is it bronze disease on the obverse? If so I think you should act quickly. 

Right after I loaded that photo, I thought "Bronze Disease"!  It is soaking right now in distilled water, and already some of the BD is lifting away.  The appearance hasn't changed since the 2019 photo, so I think no harm done.  Thanks for the sharp eye!  

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