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Buy Coins of Janus - God of Time Doors

In Roman mythology, Janus is the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, endings and time. Most often he is depicted as having two heads, facing opposite directions; one head looks back at the last year while the other looks forward to the new, simultaneously into the future and the past.

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Greek city of Thessalonica in Macedonia
Bronze from the ancient Greek city of Thessalonica in
the Province of Macedonia 88-21 B.C. under the control of the Romans
Reference: Moushmov 6607
Laureate head of Janus
ΘEΣΣAΛONIKEΩN, Two Centaurs prancing, back to back, each holding branch.   

In Roman mythology, Janus is the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, endings and time. Most often he is depicted as having two heads, facing opposite directions; one head looks back at the last year while the other looks forward to the new, simultaneously into the future and the past.

Janus was usually depicted with two heads facing in opposite directions. According to a legend, he had received the gift to see both future and past from the god Saturn in reward for the hospitality received. Janus-like heads of gods related to Hermes have been found in Greece, perhaps suggesting a compound god.

The Romans associated Janus with the Etruscan deity Ani. Several scholars suggest that he was likely the most important god in the Roman archaic pantheon. He was often invoked together with Iuppiter (Jupiter).

According to Macrobius and Cicero, Janus and Jana (Diana) are a pair of divinities, worshipped as the sun and moon, whence they were regarded as the highest of the gods, and received their sacrifices before all the others.

In general, Janus was the patron of concrete and abstract beginnings of the world (such as the religion and the gods themselves), the human life, new historical ages, and economical enterprises. He was also the god of the home entrance (ianua), gates, bridges and covered and arcaded passages (iani) named after him.

He was frequently used to symbolize change and transitions such as the progression of past to future, of one condition to another, of one vision to another, the growing up of young people, and of one universe to another. He was also known as the figure representing time because he could see into the past with one face and into the future with the other. Hence, Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as marriages, deaths and other beginnings. He was representative of the middle ground between barbarity and civilization, rural country and urban cities, and youth and adulthood.

Numa in his regulation of the Roman calendar called the first month Januarius after Janus, at the time the highest divinity. Numa also introduced 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 in the Roman Forum which had been consecrated by Numa Pompilius. In the course of wars, 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. Livy wrote in his Ab urbe condita that the doors of the temple had only been closed twice since the reign of Numa: firstly in 235 BC after the first Punic war and secondly in after the battle of Actium in 31 BC. A temple of Janus is said to have been consecrated by the consul Gaius Duilius in 260 BCE after the Battle of Mylae in the Forum Holitorium. The four-side structure known as the Arch of Janus in the Forum Boarium dates to the 4th century CE.

In the Middle Ages, Janus was also taken as the symbol of Genoa, whose Latin name was Ianua, as well as of other European communes.

In Greek mythology, a centaur (from Ancient Greek: Κένταυροι – Kéntauroi) or hippocentaur is a member of a composite race of creatures, part human and part horse. In early Attic and Boeotian vase-paintings (see below), they are depicted with the hindquarters of a horse attached to them; in later renderings centaurs are given the torso of a human joined at the waist to the horse's withers, where the horse's neck would be.Centaure Malmaison crop.jpg

This half-human and half-animal composition has led many writers to treat them as liminal beings, caught between the two natures, embodied in contrasted myths, both as the embodiment of untamed nature, as in their battle with the Lapiths, or conversely as teachers, like Chiron.

The centaurs were usually said to have been born of Ixion and Nephele (the cloud made in the image of Hera). Another version, however, makes them children of a certain Centaurus, who mated with the Magnesian mares. This Centaurus was either himself the son of Ixion and Nephele (inserting an additional generation) or of Apollo and Stilbe, daughter of the river god Peneus. In the later version of the story his twin brother was Lapithus, ancestor of the Lapiths, thus making the two warring peoples cousins.

Centaurs were said to have inhabited the region of Magnesia and Mount Pelion in Thessaly, the Foloi oak forest in Elis, and the Malean peninsula in southern Laconia.

Centaurs continued to figure in literary forms of Roman mythology. A pair of them draw the chariot of Constantine the Great and his family in the Great Cameo of Constantine (c314-16), which embodies wholly pagan imagery.

The city Thessalonica in Macedonia was founded around 315 BC by the King Cassander of Macedon, on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma and twenty-six other local villages. He named it after his wife Thessalonike, a half-sister of Alexander the Great. She gained her name ("victory of Thessalians": Gk nikē "victory") from her father, Philip II, to commemorate her birth on the day of his gaining a victory over the Phocians, who were defeated with the help of Thessalian horsemen, the best in Greece at that time. Thessaloniki developed rapidly and as early as the 2nd century BC the first walls were built, forming a large square. It was an autonomous part of the Kingdom of Macedon, with its own parliament where the King was represented and could interfere in the city's domestic affairs.

 Roman era

After the fall of the kingdom of Macedon in 168 BC, Thessalonica became a city of the Roman Republic. It grew to be an important trade-hub located on the Via Egnatia, the Roman road connecting Byzantium (later Constantinople), with Dyrrhachium (now Durrës in Albania), and facilitating trade between Europe and Asia. The city became the capital of one of the four Roman districts of Macedonia; it kept its privileges but was ruled by a praetor and had a Roman garrison, while for a short time in the 1st century BC, all the Greek provinces came under Thessalonica (the Latin form of the name). Due to the city's key commercial importance, a spacious harbour was built by the Romans, the famous Burrowed Harbour (Σκαπτός Λιμήν) that accommodated the town's trade up to the eighteenth century; later, with the help of silt deposits from the river Axios, it was reclaimed as land and the port built beyond it. Remnants of the old harbour's docks can be found in the present day under Odos Frangon Street, near the Catholic Church.

Thessaloniki's acropolis, located in the northern hills, was built in 55 BC after Thracian raids in the city's outskirts, for security reasons.

The city had a Jewish colony, established during the first century, and was to be an early centre of Christianity. On his second missionary journey, Paul of Tarsus, born a Hellenized Israelite, preached in the city's synagogue, the chief synagogue of the Jews in that part of Thessaloniki, and laid the foundations of a church. Other Jews opposed to Paul drove him from the city, and he fled to Veroia. Paul wrote two of his epistles to the Christian community at Thessalonica, the First Epistle to the Thessalonians and the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians.

Thessaloníki acquired a patron saint, St. Demetrius, in 306. He is credited with a number of miracles that saved the city, and was the Roman Proconsul of Greece under the anti-Christian emperor Maximian, later martyred at a Roman prison where today lies the Church of St. Demetrius, first built by the Roman sub-prefect of Illyricum Leontios in 463. Other important remains from this period include the Arch and Tomb of Galerius, located near the centre of the modern city.

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