Detail, Arch of Janus, Rome

Detail, Arch of Janus, Rome


Inspired by Daniel Valles’ insightful end times update and symbolic decoding of yesterday’s Google Doodle, I noticed this additional prophetic symbol, a two faced character obscured behind a fourfold archway beneath the icy waters. A pattern of a two faced world elite plotting ritual sacrifices to manipulate time and events, then and now surfaced.

Depicted is a so-called ‘Janus Head’, the variant cleaved to Sigmund Freud on the Google Doodle resembling a demonic, hybrid character’s profile like Iapetus from the movie Prometheus, symbols will examine for underlying meaning and relevance related end times prophetic events.

Janus keeper of past and future | gates and passages | beginnings and endings | change and time

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, doorways, passages, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. It is conventionally thought that the month of January is named after him, but according to ancient Roman farmers’ almanacs Juno was the tutelary deity of the month. In Roman religion Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict, and hence war and peace as well. The doors of his temple were open in time of war, and closed to mark 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 traveling, trading and shipping. Put this element in your hip pocket.

Interpretations concerning the god’s fundamental nature either limit it to this general function or emphasize a concrete or particular aspect of it (identifying him with light , the sun, the moon, time, movement, the year calendar, doorways, bridges etc.) or else see in the god a sort of cosmological principle. In the pocket as well.

As a god of motion, Janus looks after passages, causes actions to start and presides over all beginnings. Since movement and change are interconnected, he has a double nature, symbolized in his two headed image. He has under his tutelage the stepping in and out of the door of homes. This extends to the gates of the city, including the cultic gate of the Argiletum, from which he protects Rome against the Sabines, a neighboring people. The so-called Triumphal Arch of Janus was not actually dedicated him it is the only surviving ancient four gated arch way in Rome.

To Romans, Janus is at the origin of time as the guardian of the gates of heaven: Jupiter himself can move forth and back because of Janus’s working. As such he is in fact contending for the position and identity of Jesus. In Roman thought he presides over the concrete and abstract beginnings of the world, such as religion and the gods themselves, he too holds the access to heaven and to other gods: this is the reason why men had to invoke him first, regardless of the god they want to pray or placate. He is the initiator of human life and financial enterprises: according to myth he was the first to mint coins. Taking his lordship over travel, trade and shipping out of our hip pocket, these characteristics connect him to the current great power twin cities of New York and London which, through their inner city and virtual financial dealings, lord over worldwide finance and economics.

Janus symbolized change and transitions such as the progress of future to past, from one condition to another, from one vision to another, and young people’s growth to adulthood. He represented 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 at marriages, deaths and other beginnings and ending life events. These aspects also connect him to the end times we’re in.

Janus and Jana (also referred to as Diana) were a pair of divinities, worshipped as Apollo or twofold manifestations of the sun/Sol god and moon/Luna goddess deities.

Location matters

Besides being part of a city’s geo-strategic protection against invaders, city gates were also key places of sociopolitical activity in ancient times. It was at the city gates that important business transactions were made, court was convened and public announcements were heralded. Accordingly, it is natural that the Bible frequently speaks of “sitting in the gate” or of particular activities that took place at the gate. In Proverbs 1, wisdom is personified: “At the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech” (verse 21). To spread her words to the maximum number of people, Wisdom took to the gates.

Days of Lot | Ruth | Esther

The first mention of a city gate is found in Genesis 19:1. It was at the gate of Sodom that Abraham’s nephew, Lot, greeted the angelic visitors to his city. Lot was there with other leading men of the city, either discussing the day’s issues or engaging in important civic business.

Another important example is found in the book of Ruth, a type of the Lord’s bride. In Ruth 4:1-11, Boaz officially claimed the position of kinsman-redeemer by meeting with the city elders at the gate of Bethlehem. There, the legal matters related to his marriage to and redemption of Ruth were settled.

The city gate was important in other ancient cultures as well. The Book of Esther 2:5-8 records that some of the king’s servants plotted at the king’s gate to murder him. Mordecai, a leading Jew in Persia, heard the plot and reported it to Esther, another type of the Lord’s bride, who gave the news to the king (Esther 2:19-23). The Persian court officials were identified as being “at the king’s gate” (3:3). To control the gates of one’s enemies was to conquer their city. Part of Abraham’s blessing from the Lord was the promise that “your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies” (Genesis 22:17).

When Jesus promised to build His church, He said, “…the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). An understanding of the biblical implications of “gates” helps us to gasp and heed Jesus’ words. Since a gate was a place where rulers met and counsel was given, Jesus was saying that all the evil plans of Satan himself would never defeat His church.

In these end times, now nearing the apex of spiritual conflict, we are fully aware that not only our Lord and savior is at the proverbial gates, we discern that the Adversary and his disciples are positioned there firmly as well, forecasting and prematurely celebrating their soon unleashing and being unrestrained by our departure in the form of elaborate, satanically inspired events, celebrations and even repositioning ancient idol triumph arches and architectural projections at strategic spiritual and geopolitical locations.


In Roman wartime the gates of the Janus were opened as mentioned, and in its interior sacrifices rituals were held, to forecast the outcome of military deeds. In like fashion our current day worldwide elite is foreca sting end time events by means of their ritual sacrifices involving ancients arches and spiritual gateways as well. Like Janus originally regulated the crossing of the sacred Roman river through the pons sublicius, the earliest known bridge of ancient Rome, our global elite both regulate and use our waterways and bridges to further their dark causes.

As the protector of doors, gates and roadways in general, signified in his key and staff, they key was a sign that the traveller had come to a harbor or ford for peaceful exchange. In a similar fashion Roman brides were called to oil the posts of the door of their new homes with wolf fat at arrival, a rite of passage darkly mirroring Biblical passover rites, bridal preparation and oil anointments.

Raptio | raptae of the Sabines

In the early history of Rome, shortly after its founding by Romulus and his mostly male followers a prophetically significant event took place. As there was a shortage of women, the Romans sought wives in order to establish families and in this context negotiated unsuccessfully with the Sabines, who populated the surrounding area. The Sabines feared the emergence of a rival society and refused to allow their women to marry the Romans. Consequently, the Romans planned to abduct Sabine women during a festival of Neptune Equester. They planned and announced a marvelous festival to attract people from all nearby towns. According to historians, many people from Rome’s neighboring towns attended, including the Sabines. At the festival, Romulus gave a signal, at which the Romans grabbed the Sabine women and fought off the Sabine men. Seduced by charm and festive ‘bread and circus’ the indignant abductees were soon implored by Romulus to accept Roman husbands under false pretenses.

The English word rape is a conventional translation of the Latin raptio, which in this context means “abduction” rather than its prevalent modern meaning in English language of sexual violation. Logically, the word rapture or sudden taking/departure within the context of the sexually deviance know to Noah and Lot comes to mind as well. Historians claim that no direct sexual assault took place, albeit the fuller evidence, when compared with the later history, suggests a seduction based on promises by the Romans (promises which were inadequate, in any event) and then betrayal of those promises.

The Sabines themselves finally declared war, led into battle by their king, Titus Tatius. Tatius almost succeeded in capturing Rome, thanks to the treason of Tarpeia, daughter of Spurius Tarpeius, governor of the citadel on the Capitoline Hill. Her story reads almost like that of Rahab in the battle of Jericho, though not moved by faith but rather by material gain, her fate was less fortunate.

Tarpeia | Rahab

Tarpeia opened the city gates for the Sabines in return for “what they bore on their arms”, thinking she would receive their golden bracelets. Instead, the Sabines crushed her to death with their shields, and her body was thrown from a rock known ever since by her name, the Tarpeian Rock. The Romans attacked the Sabines, who now held the citadel. The Roman line gave way and they retreated to the gate of the Palatium.

At this stand-off point, however, the Sabine women intervened. They threw themselves amid the flying weapons, and making a rush across, to separate the incensed armies and calm their fury imploring their fathers on the one side, their husbands on the other, that as fathers-in-law and sons-in-law they would not contaminate each other with impious blood, nor stain their offspring with parricide, the one their grandchildren, the other their children. Like Esther did before her King on behalf of the Jewish people, the Sabines put their own lives on the line rather than becoming either widows, brother- or fatherless.

They battle came to an end, and the Sabines agreed to unite in one nation with the Romans. Titus Tatius jointly ruled with Romulus until Tatius’s death five years later. Grace and mercy triumphed temporarily.

As in ancient times at the war time closed gates, opposing geopolitical forces are clearly discernible now, wars and rumors of war abound. In these final hours of grace and mercy the age old conflict between good and evil may manifest in different ways, the driving spiritual forces behind them are of old and best countered with the same faith, wisdom, love and courage the Bible lays out for us.

Janus/Jana | Shiva/Kali | Osirus/Isis | Dancing with the stars

Like Janus and Jana in Roman times, Egyptian and Hindu gods and goddesses of destruction are being re-branded globally and positioned firmly at multiple prominent strongholds of global geopolitics, finance, religious might as well as at CERN’s cathedral of scientism with cosmic and earthly aspirations to star at the dance of destruction and creation, blatantly attempting to usurp the Lord’s authority, bend, blend and trespass His divine boundaries.

The Temple of Janus Geminus

Ancient Rome was a city of a wide range of shrines and temples dedicated to the numerous gods of the Roman religion. The general concept of religio was there for all to see, from the shrines dedicated to the gods of the household to the capitol of Jupiter Optimus Maximus. The vagaries of time and changes in faith have seen many of these temples and shrines become lost to the modern world, a sad fate in which they were destroyed, recycled or simply forgotten. One such example amongst those lost was the Temple of Ianus Geminus in Rome. Whilst the building itself may no longer stand, its function, location and appearance have all been preserved in other sources. These sources area mix of literary and numismatic (coin) elements, helping to create a greater interest in the temple. With the information from these sources, we are provided with a foundation for our modern understanding of this building which held a highly contested and unusual significance to the people of Rome.

Temple Origins

Within the various literature concerning the temple there have been many different cited origins. Perhaps the most widely known origin stems from Livy's Ab Urbe Condita (1.19) originating the temple with the Roman king Numa who famously boosted the religious nature of the Roman populace. Numa created the temple to serve as an indicator of war and peace, hoping to increase the respect held for both in doing so. Archaeologists such as Valentine Müller (1943) have made comparisons between archaeological and literary sources - such as the supposed foundation occurring under Romulus and Titus Tatius. The location for the temple is given to have been in the Forum Roma`num, which would place the temple in an area of some significance. Platner & Ashby (1929) in their topographical map of Rome place Ianus Geminus along the northern end of the forum. The problem faced by modern archaeologists is that the temple itself, like many of its kind, has been demolished lost forever during the rise of Christianity, although this may not be entirely accurate. Not long after Ianus Geminus was demolished, it had been largely replaced by the larger Ianus Quadrifons in the Forum Nervae. This newer, and far grander temple resulted in the rendering of the original to a much lower significance. What is known of Ianus Geminus' location is that it stood near the end of the Argiletum one of the main thoroughfares to the Forum Romanum. The map of Republican Rome by William Shepherd (1929) places the temple within sight of the Comitium and the Rostra. Such a position, near some of the most important governmental areas of Rome, indicates the potential for the temple to serve as a useful political symbol. However, when referring to Shepherd's map of Imperial Rome, the temple has ceased to exist in the Forum Romanum. It was replaced instead by parts of the Forum Nervae and the Basilica Aemilia. There is no record of the temple ever being rebuilt, though a temple of similar design and purpose is mentioned by Procopius (Gothic Wars 5.25).

What was it for?

The purpose of the temple is described in various ways depending on the author of the literature. The most commonly accepted, and what would have been the most visible purpose, was to serve as a physical representation of whether the Roman state was at peace or war (index pacis bellique). This purpose is attributed to the well-known Roman historians: Livy, Plutarch and Suetonius among several others. Perhaps one of the more important literary explanations of the function of the temple, can be found in the autobiography Res Gestae Divi Augusti. The closing of the gates of Ianus Geminus is listed amongst the greatest achievements of Augustus' life. The importance of this may undoubtedly be linked to the infrequent nature of this event. In point of fact, prior to its multiple closures by Augustus, Livy (1.19) mentions only two other recorded closings of the temple - first under King Numa and secondly at the end of the Second Punic War. This makes the fact that it is recorded that Augustus closed the gates thrice an even more remarkable feat. Discussion of the temples purpose was not however limited to historians - with Ianus Geminus featuring within the works of several poets as well. The temple being significant enough to not be overlooked by numerous poets speaks volumes to the familiarity with the temple held by the general populace. With that in mind however, the poets who featured the temple did not necessarily agree upon the function of the gates. With a differing of opinions centred around whether the gates trapped peace or war inside. The poets Horace and Ovid both maintained in their works that pax (peace) was to be kept and protected within the gates away from harm. Whereas, Virgil wrote that bellum (war) was held imprisoned within the gates of the temple - held in bondage until it was able to break free and afflict the Roman world again.

But what did it look like?

Just because the temple no longer stands, does not mean we cannot know what it looked like. One written description is the previously mentioned description by Procopius (5.25), written much later wherein the temple is made entirely from bronze and stood five cubits (2.28m) high. Whilst this description is helpful, it is somewhat basic in detail. There are a number of sources which allow us to look upon an image of the temple. This is thanks to the existence of its image upon a series of gold (aureus) and bronze (sestertius) coins, produced by the Emperor Nero. The coins were all created to commemorate the closing of the temple gates under Nero - serving as an effective means of propaganda. Whilst a commonly known fact being that coins have two sides, often their official names are unknown. These are referred to as the obverse (heads) and reverse (tails) sides. Upon the reverse side of these coins, a presumably large archway is shown sealed by an ornate gate. Around this, is the declaration that the temple had been closed by the emperor. The golden aurei are dated by the Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE) as to having been produced between 64-66AD. One notable detail for the aurei depiction of Ianus Geminus, is that the arch itself appears to be generally lacking in any outward signs of decoration. The majority of the examples show the temple as being made of columns with an archway atop. The arch above the gates is depicted as being somewhat plain - lacking even a frieze as is often associated with ancient architecture. Instead the depiction is that the archway atop the columns is decorated only with a simple lip. Two of the existing coins however, differ in that they depict the temple as a singular smooth edifice. Whether this is due to wear or a regional mint variation is unknown. The gates of Ianus Geminus are the feature so commonly referred to in the literature that are depicted remarkably consistent across the collection. Each depiction showing an eight panelled gate, with the only variation being the level of detail on the bars of each gate. The sestertius produced over greater time (approximately 62-68AD) can be used to identify further details. The sestertii present details of the non-gated side of the temple revealing a grated window upon the left side, whilst also showing a decorative garland over the gate itself. Interestingly, unlike the coins on the OCRE website, those found in the work by Müller shows some frieze work along the side of the temple. The fact that the coins were all created to celebrate the closing of the gates is present within the embossed Latin upon the coins. This helps to create a link between the literary importance of the event with an actual physical object. Coins such as these aurei and sestertii, are extremely valuable sources to call upon as they preserve not only images and symbols, but frequently also the cultural significance too. It is for reasons such as these that numismatics is an extremely worthwhile study.


The story of Ianus Geminus is one shared by much of the old Rome, lost to us through the unending march of time. Still, through its presence in literature and upon the aurei and the sestersii of Nero it has been preserved at least in spirit. The study of Ianus Geminus not only presents an interesting view point into some of the more obscure aspects of Roman religion, it also serves to help keep the traditions of the past from being forgotten. It is through our connections to the past, and knowledge of the traditions long since faded, that help us to not only understand the people of the past but ourselves as well. After all history isn't just words on a page, it is the story of us.


The arch, which was constructed between 312 and 315 AD, was dedicated by the Senate to commemorate ten years (decennalia [b] ) of Constantine's reign (306–337) and his victory over the then reigning emperor Maxentius (306–312) at the Battle of Milvian Bridge on 28 October 312, [3] as described on its attic inscription, [4] and officially opened on 25 July 315. Not only did the Roman senate give the arch for Constantine's victory, they also were celebrating decennia, a series of games that happens every decade for the Romans. On this occasion they also said many prayers. [5] However, Constantine had actually entered Rome on 29 October 312, amidst great rejoicing, and the Senate then commissioned the monument. [6] Constantine then left Rome within two months and did not return until 326. [7]

The location, between the Palatine Hill and the Caelian Hill, spanned the ancient route of Roman triumphs (Via triumphalis) at its origin, where it diverged from the Via sacra. [3] [8] [9] This route was that taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph. This route started at the Campus Martius, led through the Circus Maximus, and around the Palatine Hill immediately after the Arch of Constantine, the procession would turn left at the Meta Sudans and march along the Via sacra to the Forum Romanum and on to the Capitoline Hill, passing through both the Arches of Titus and Septimius Severus.

During the Middle Ages, the Arch of Constantine was incorporated into one of the family strongholds of ancient Rome, as shown in the painting by Herman van Swanevelt, here. Works of restoration were first carried out in the 18th century, [10] [c] the last excavations have taken place in the late 1990s, just before the Great Jubilee of 2000. The arch served as the finish line for the marathon athletic event for the 1960 Summer Olympics.

Dates of incorporated decorative material

Controversy Edit

There has been much controversy over the origins of the arch, with some scholars claiming that it should no longer be referred to as Constantine's arch, but is in fact an earlier work from the time of Hadrian, reworked during Constantine's reign, [3] or at least the lower part. [d] Another theory holds that it was erected, or at least started, by Maxentius, [5] [e] and one scholar believed it was as early as the time of Domitian (81–96). [15] [3]

Symbolism Edit

Whatever the faults of Maxentius, his reputation in Rome was influenced by his contributions to public building. By the time of his accession in 306 Rome was becoming increasingly irrelevant to the governance of the empire, most emperors choosing to live elsewhere and focusing on defending the fragile boundaries, where they frequently founded new cities. This factor contributed to his ability to seize power. By contrast Maxentius concentrated on restoring the capital, his epithet being conservator urbis suae (preserver of his city). Thus Constantine was perceived amongst other things as the deposer of one of the city's greatest benefactors, and needed to acquire legitimacy. Much controversy has surrounded the patronage of the public works of this period. Issuing a damnatio memoriae Constantine set out to systematically erase the memory of Maxentius. Consequently, there remains considerable uncertainty regarding the patronage of early fourth century public buildings, including the Arch of Constantine, which may originally have been an Arch of Maxentius. [9]

Constantine's Arch is an important example, frequently cited in surveys of art history, of the stylistic changes of the 4th century, and the "collapse of the classical Greek canon of forms during the late Roman period", [16] a sign the city was in decline, and would soon be eclipsed by Constantine's founding of a new capital at Constantinople in 324. [4] The contrast between the styles of the re-used Imperial reliefs of Trajan, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius and those newly made for the arch is dramatic and, according to Ernst Kitzinger, "violent", [16] that where the head of an earlier emperor was replaced by that of Constantine the artist was still able to achieve a "soft, delicate rendering of the face of Constantine" that was "a far cry from the dominant style of the workshop". [17] It remains the most impressive surviving civic monument from Rome in Late Antiquity, but is also one of the most controversial with regards to its origins and meanings. [3]

Kitzinger compares a roundel of Hadrian lion-hunting, which is "still rooted firmly in the tradition of late Hellenistic art", and there is "an illusion of open, airy space in which figures move freely and with relaxed self-assurance" with the later frieze where the figures are "pressed, trapped, as it were, between two imaginary planes and so tightly packed within the frame as to lack all freedom of movement in any direction", with "gestures that are "jerky, overemphatic and uncoordinated with the rest of the body". [16] In the 4th century reliefs, the figures are disposed geometrically in a pattern that "makes sense only in relation to the spectator", in the largesse scene (below) centred on the emperor who looks directly out to the viewer. Kitzinger continues: "Gone too is the classical canon of proportions. Heads are disproportionately large, trunks square, legs stubby . "Differences in the physical size of figures drastically underline differences of rank and importance which the second-century artist had indicated by subtle compositional means within a seemingly casual grouping. Gone, finally are elaboration of detail and differentiation of surface texture. Faces are cut rather than modeled, hair takes the form of a cap with some superficial stippling, drapery folds are summarily indicated by deeply drilled lines." [18]

The commission was clearly highly important, if hurried, and the work must be considered as reflecting the best available craftsmanship in Rome at the time the same workshop was probably responsible for a number of surviving sarcophagi. [18] The question of how to account for what may seem a decline in both style and execution has generated a vast amount of discussion. Factors introduced into the discussion include: a breakdown of the transmission in artistic skills due to the political and economic disruption of the Crisis of the Third Century, [19] influence from Eastern and other pre-classical regional styles from around the Empire (a view promoted by Josef Strzygowski (1862-1941), and now mostly discounted), [20] the emergence into high-status public art of a simpler "popular" or "Italic" style that had been used by the less wealthy throughout the reign of Greek models, an active ideological turning against what classical styles had come to represent, and a deliberate preference for seeing the world simply and exploiting the expressive possibilities that a simpler style gave. [21] The sculptors of Constantine's time were more interested in symbolism: both symbolism for religion as well as symbolism for history. [22] One factor that cannot be responsible, as the date and origin of the Venice Portrait of the Four Tetrarchs show, is the rise of Christianity to official support, as the changes predated that. [23]

The stylistic references to the earlier arches of Titus and Septimius Severus, together with the incorporation of spolia from the times of other earlier emperors may be considered a deliberate tribute to Roman history. [24]

The arch is heavily decorated with parts of older monuments, which assume a new meaning in the context of the Constantinian building. As it celebrates the victory of Constantine, the new "historic" friezes illustrating his campaign in Italy convey the central meaning: the praise of the emperor, both in battle and in his civilian duties. The other imagery supports this purpose: decoration taken from the "golden times" of the Empire under the 2nd century emperors whose reliefs were re-used places Constantine next to these "good emperors", and the content of the pieces evokes images of the victorious and pious ruler.

Another explanation given for the re-use is the short time between the start of construction (late 312 at the earliest) and the dedication (summer 315), so the architects used existing artwork to make up for the lack of time to create new art. It could be that so many old parts were used because the builders themselves did not feel the artists of their time could do better than what had already been done by different people. [22] As yet another possible reason, it has often been suggested that the Romans of the 4th century truly did lack the artistic skill to produce acceptable artwork, and were aware of it, and therefore plundered the ancient buildings to adorn their contemporary monuments. This interpretation has become less prominent in more recent times, as the art of Late Antiquity has been appreciated in its own right. It is possible that a combination of those explanations is correct. [25]

Attic Edit

On the top of each column, large sculptures representing Dacians can be seen, which date from Trajan. Above the central archway is the inscription, forming the most prominent portion of the attic and is identical on both sides of the arch. Flanking the inscription on both sides are four pairs of relief panels above the minor archways, eight in total. These were taken from an unknown monument erected in honour of Marcus Aurelius. On the north side, from left to right, the panels depict the emperor's return to Rome after the campaign (adventus), the emperor leaving the city and saluted by a personification of the Via Flaminia, the emperor distributing money among the people (largitio), and the emperor interrogating a German prisoner. On the south side, from left to right, are depicted a captured enemy chieftain led before the emperor, a similar scene with other prisoners (illustrated below), the emperor speaking to the troops (adlocutio), and the emperor sacrificing a pig, sheep and bull (suovetaurilia). Together with three panels now in the Capitoline Museum, the reliefs were probably taken from a triumphal monument commemorating Marcus Aurelius' war against the Marcomanni and the Sarmatians from 169 – 175, which ended with Marcus Aurelius' triumphant return in 176. On the largitio panel, the figure of Marcus Aurelius' son Commodus has been eradicated following the latter's damnatio memoriae.

From the same time period the two large (3 m high) panels decorating the attic on the east and west sides of the arch show scenes from Trajan's Dacian Wars. Together with the two reliefs on the inside of the central archway, these came from a large frieze celebrating the Dacian victory. The original place of this frieze was either the Forum of Trajan, or the barracks of the emperor's horse guard on the Caelius.

Detail of relief panel, south side, right panel of left arch

Main section Edit

The general layout of the main facade is identical on both sides of the arch, consisting of four columns on bases, dividing the structure into a central arch and two lateral arches, the latter being surmounted by two round reliefs over a horizontal frieze. The four columns are of Corinthian order made of Numidian yellow marble (giallo antico), one of which has been transferred into the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano and was replaced by a white marble column. The columns stand on bases (plinths or socles), decorated on three sides. The reliefs on the front show Victoria, either inscribing a shield or holding palm branches, while those to the side show captured barbarians alone or with Roman soldiers. Though Constantinian, they are modelled on those of the Arch of Septimius Severus (and the destroyed Arcus novus [f] ), and may be considered as a "standard" item. [26]

Detail of north plinth on second column from east (see gallery), viewed from east, with Victoria (left), prisoners (right)

Detail of western plinths (see detail of left plinth in side bar)

Round reliefs above right lateral archway, from south, over friezes

Plinths of columns on north side, looking west (see detail to right)

Plinths, north side looking east

The pairs of round reliefs above each lateral archway date to the times of Emperor Hadrian. They display scenes of hunting and sacrificing: (north side, left to right) hunt of a boar, sacrifice to Apollo, hunt of a lion, sacrifice to Hercules. On the south side, the left pair show the departure for the hunt (see below) and sacrifice to Silvanus, while those on the right (illustrated on the right) show the hunt of a bear and sacrifice to Diana. The head of the emperor (originally Hadrian) has been reworked in all medallions: on the north side, into Constantine in the hunting scenes and into Licinius or Constantius I in the sacrifice scenes on the south side, vice versa. The reliefs, c. 2 m in diameter, were framed in porphyry this framing is only extant on the right side of the northern facade. Similar medallions, of Constantinian origin, are located on the small sides of the arch the eastern side shows the Sun rising, on the western side, the Moon. Both are on chariots.

The spandrels of the main archway are decorated with reliefs depicting victory figures with trophies (illustrated below), those of the smaller archways show river gods. Column bases and spandrel reliefs are from the time of Constantine.

Casa Romuli

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Thanks to its long history, the city of Rome is full of archaeological remains from many different eras. While the most famous ones, like the Colosseum or the Pantheon date back to the golden age of the Roman Empire, the city dates back many centuries.

The traditional date of the foundation of Rome is 753 BC, but the area was inhabited for centuries prior. However, some parts of a city wall were constructed much earlier, revealing that a city may have emerged during 730 BC. In addition, a few hut foundations dating back to the Iron Age, more specifically a period between 900 BC and 700 BC, have been found on Palatine Hill, the traditional location of the house of Romulus.

Due to the date, location, and size of the dwelling, these remains are believed to be the foundations of the ancient house of Romulus, the founder and first king of Rome. For this reason, the remains are known as “Casa Romuli” ( “House of Romulus”).

The huts were damaged and repaired several times, most notably in 38 BC after a fire broke out during a ceremony celebrating Romulus destroyed most of the dwelling. Another fire was reported in 12 BC, but the Casa Romuli probably survived until the 4th-century. The hut foundations that can be seen today are cut into the tufa bedrock of the Palatine Hill and were discovered during excavations in 1946.

Who Is Janus?

Janus is an ancient god whose worship dates all the way back to the time of Romulus and even before the founding of Rome. Unlike many of the deities worshipped by the Romans, Janus does not have a Greek counterpart or equivalent. According to one myth, Janus was the first king of Latium, and is credited with bringing civil and social order to mankind. In doing so, he brought humanity from barbarity to civilization and this transition from one state of being to another is represented by Janus’ two faces.

According to Roman mythology, Janus was the husband of Camasene, a nymph, and the two had a son, Tiberinus. It was from Tiberinus that the river Tiber gained its name. Prior to that, the river was known as Albula. Following Tiberinus’ death in the river or on its banks, however, its name was changed. In another myth about Janus, Saturn, after being exiled by Jupiter from the heavens, arrives in Janiculum (the city founded by Janus) on a ship. The god was received warmly by Janus and in return for his hospitality bestowed on the king the power to see both into the future and into the past.

This mosaic picture shows the Arch of Janus Quadrifons, one of the most celebrated ancient sights in Rome which attracted travellers from all over Europe as the single most important stop on their Grand Tour in the late eighteenth century. It is made with unusually small pieces, so-called tesserae, which consist of a glass-like material called smalti (enamel).

The picture dates from the last quarter of the eighteenth century and shows an early stage of the development of micromosaics. The mosaicist clearly had a limited range of colours at disposal and instead used the form and size of tesserae to create the composition. Motifs such as the black and white dog and the white horse with blue spots are wonderfully free in their allocation of colour, and in that sense anticipate an approach to composition that would only make its way into fine art with Pointillism and Divisionism around 1900.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.

This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Picture height: 48.2cm
  • Picture width: 61cm
  • Frame height: 65cm
  • Frame width: 79.5cm

Provenance: Amadeo di Castro, Rome, 1969.

The discovery of the Doves of Pliny, an ancient mosaic described by Pliny the Younger as the ultimate example of illusionism in the field of mosaics, in 1737, might have triggered the interest among Roman mosaicists to create ever more painterly mosaics with ever smaller pieces. By 1800 such micromosaics became particularly fashionable as a technique that expressed neoclassical taste even in the very choice of its medium. Their portability made them the perfect souvenir to take back from Rome. While German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe famously complained about the multitude of the tiny cheap copies of Roman mosaics that were offered in the streets of Rome, this picture is evidence of the other end of the market: it is testimony to the innovation and craftsmanship that characterised the production and indeed evolution of micromosaics in the last quarter of the eighteenth century.

The mosaic of the Arch of Janus Quadrifons is very similar to another mosaic in the Gilbert Collection that depicts the Temple of the Sybil in Tivoli (LOAN:GILBERT.171-2008) and is generally associated with Giacomo Raffaelli. This Roman mosaicist and pietre dure artist is generally credited with the invention of a new technique which allowed the creation of mosaics with incredibly small pieces of glass in a seemingly infinite range of colours. Because of the similarity in style and size as well as a shared provenance the two pictures are considered a pair, but could also be evidence of a workshop production that was based on standardised dimensions.

Micromosaics have their roots in the larger mosaics of ancient Rome used to decorate their walls and floors. In fact particularly fine, moveable mosaics date back to hellenistic times when mosaics made of glass, stone and ceramics were laid on slabs of stone.

The first modern micromosaics were created in the late 18th century in response to a revived interest in antiquity, but it was not until Arthur Gilbert himself became interested in collecting them and invented the term 'micromosaics' that they became known as such. The tesserae are minute pieces cut from thin pieces of glass known as smalti filati, and some of the finest micomosaics can consist of as many as 5,000 tesserae per square inch (ca. 3 by 3cm).

This mosaic picture shows the Arch of Janus Quadrifons, one of the most celebrated ancient sights in Rome which attracted travellers from all over Europe as the single most important stop on their Grand Tour in the late eighteenth century. It is made with unusually small pieces, so-called tesserae, which consist of a glass-like material called smalti (enamel).

The picture dates from the last quarter of the eighteenth century and shows an early stage of the development of micromosaics. The mosaicist clearly had a limited range of colours at disposal and instead used the form and size of tesserae to create the composition. Motifs such as the black and white dog and the white horse with blue spots are wonderfully free in their allocation of colour, and in that sense anticipate an approach to composition that would only make its way into fine art with Pointillism and Divisionism around 1900.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.

  • Sherman, Anthony C. The Gilbert Mosaic Collection. Edited by M. Barbara Scheibel. West Haven, Connecticut: Pendulum Press, 1971, p. 28, pl. X.
  • Avery, Charles, assisted by Arthur Emperatori. Mosaics from the Gilbert Collection: summary catalogue. Exhibition catalogue Victoria & Albert Museum. London: H.M.S.O. 1975, cat. no. 12.
  • Gonzalez-Palacios, Alvar. The Art of Mosaics: Selections from the Gilbert Collection, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1977. 143 p., ill. Cat. no.20, p. 49. ISBN 0875870805.
  • Gonzalez-Palacios, Alvar and Steffi Röttgen with essays by Steffi Röttgen, Claudia Przyborowski essays and new catalogue material translated by Alla Theodora Hall. The Art of Mosaics: Selections from the Gilbert Collection. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1982. 224 p., ill. Cat. no. 20. ISBN 0875871097
  • Gabriel, Jeanette Hanisee with contributions by Anna Maria Massinelli and essays by Judy Rudoe and Massimo Alfieri. Micromosaics: The Gilbert Collection. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd. in association with The Gilbert Collection, 2000. 310 p., ill. Cat. no. 8, pp. 59-60. ISBN 0856675113.

Archaeological & Historical Sites & Museums in Rome & the Vatican City

This massive, four-way arch built of marble is 16 metres high and 12 metres square. The north-west pier has a staircase that would have led to a series of rooms and chambers at the top. The enigmatic structure is built over an ancient drain that ran down the valley to the Tiber River. And is thought to have been a boundary marker rather than a triumphal arch. Also, dating the arch has not been simple. Remains of terracotta storage jars were found to have been used in the concrete vault, which are typical of jars used in the 4th century AD.

Baths of Caracalla

Built under Emperor Caracalla between 211 and 216 AD, these baths were the second of larger Imperial bath houses in Rome. The sheer size of the baths is still captivating &ndash they covered an area of 100,000 metres square and accommodated about 10,000 people. More of a leisure centre than a series of baths, these were the second to have a public library. The baths continued to be used until the 6th century, and now a popular archaeological attraction in Rome, being the summer home of the Rome Opera Company &hellip read more.

Circus Maximus

A popular public area in the heart of Rome, the site of the Circus Maximus is said to be the city&rsquos oldest and largest public space. Evidence suggests it was founded sometime during the 6th century BC. By the end of the 1st century AD, it could accommodate an audience of over 250,000 people. Besides chariot races, other public spectacles including executions, gladiatorial contests and animal hunts were also staged here. The rounded, eastern end is currently being restored, and gives a good idea of the banks of seating.

The Colosseum

The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is undoubtedly the iconic monument of Rome. At 48 m high, and 545 m in circumference, this was by far the largest amphitheatre in the Roman Empire, seating between 50 and 80 thousand people. While the basic style and design was used in cities throughout the Empire, the size and attention to detail was never matched anywhere else. Next to the Colosseum, and not to be missed is the Ludus Magnus, the main gladiators&rsquo barracks and practice arena &hellip read more.

Egyptian Obelisks

There are 13 erect, ancient Egyptian obelisks in Rome (yellow map markers) &ndash more than anywhere else including Egypt. These obelisks are now a much loved feature of the piazzas in which they are now standing. One of the most famous is the Vatican Obelisk in St Peter&rsquos Square. Pictured here is the Obelisk of Hophra on the Piazza della Minerva, just behind the Pantheon. Obelisks caught the eye of Augustus, who had them transported back to the heart of his Empire to add a divine sanction to his rule.

Hadrian&rsquos Mausoleum &ndash Castel Sant&rsquoAngelo

Castel Sant&rsquoAngelo has had a varied past. On the north bank of the Tiber River away from the ancient city of Rome, the castel is reached by crossing the St. Angelo Bridge. Much of what we see in this striking monument today was built between the 13th and 17th centuries, when the building was heavily fortified and housed the papal palace and later a prison. At first the castel was Hadrian&rsquos Mausoleum, where the emperor&rsquos ashes and those of his immediate family were placed a year after his death &hellip read more.

Imperial Forums

In 1932 many 16th century houses between the the Colosseum and the Piazza Veneziato were destroyed to make way for the Via Fori Imperiali. Then called the &lsquostreet of the Empire&rsquo, the road was created for Fascist military parades. Excavations exposed five colonnaded precincts. The land either side of the road was set aside as a park until 1996, when archaeologists began uncovering what are now collectively known as the Imperial Forums. These areas are not open to the public but can be viewed from the street.

Marcellus Theatre

Within the ruins of the most important of Rome&rsquos three theatres is a 16th century palazzo that is now subdivided into smaller apartments. The curving outer façade of the theatre is still obvious, as are other architectural features including the arcades. The theatre, which had a seating capacity of over 20,000 people, was started under Julius Caesar but finished for Augustus and inaugurated in either 13 or 11 BC. This theatre then became a model for further theatres built in Italy and the Western Roman Empire.

The Pantheon

One of the most popular (entry free) attractions in Rome, the Pantheon was completed by Emperor Hadrian in 125 AD. The impressive dome ceiling of the rotunda was until 1958 the largest concrete span in the World. The reason for its remarkable preservation after nearly two thousand years is due to the fact that it was converted into a church in 608 AD. As impressive as the building is, its function is unknown &ndash although most assume that it was a temple of one kind or another.

The Roman Forum

Even for the ancient Romans, the area known as the Roman Forum was considered a monument to the city&rsquos remote past. As early as the 5th century BC, this area overlooked by the Capitoline and Palatine hills had become a political and symbolic centre of the Republican city. Over the centuries that followed and on into the Imperial period, numerous shrines, temples and fountains were added as show-pieces for political competition and the history on which Imperial Rome was based.

The Round Temple

A Greek-style temple that was built towards the end of the second century BC and now in a small park near the Tiber River. Although the roof, the marble entablature and upper third of the cella wall are not original, the Corinthian columns and two windows beside the door are. The marble used for the construction of the temple comes from the quarry on Mount Pentelicus in Athens. By the 12th century the temple had been converted in to a church, but de-consecrated at the start of the 19th century, when the ground level surrounding the temple was lowered to reveal the podium.

Temple of Portunus

Thought to have been dedicated to the Roman harbour-god Portunus, this remarkably well preserved temple owes its survival to having been turned into a church around 872 AD. In the 1930s, buildings surrounding the temple were demolished and all external traces of the church were removed. The temple was built between 80 and 70 BC. A a more modest replacement for an earlier, late fourth century temple that had been constructed on a six metre high podium to avoid flooding waters of the Tiber River.

The Upper Via Sacra

Leading from the Roman Forum, is a cluster of buildings and temples that date to Rome&rsquos earliest days. Beyond these the Via Sacra, or Sacred Way, rises to the Arch of Titus. Before a fire in 64 AD, the street was lined with aristocratic houses. Entry to this area, from which the New Basilica of Maxentius/Constantine is also accessible, is included with entry to the Roman Forum. An exit-only gate is located alongside the Temple of Roma and Venus, beyond the Arch of Titus towards the Colosseum. Or you can proceed on to the Palatine Hill.

Landmark Find: Spanish Archaeologists Locate Long-Lost Janus Augustus Arch

German archaeologists were close to a major find in the 1980s, but it took another three decades before the ruins of the long-lost Janus Augustus Arch have finally been unearthed. A team of Spanish researchers have now found the elusive monument in Mengíbar, Jaén, Spain.

National Geographic reports that the arch marked the beginning of the province Baetica in Hispania and was “kilometer zero” of the Via Augusta in Roman Baetica. Crossing over 1,500 km (932 miles), the Via Augusta was the longest Roman road in Hispania. It weaved a path from the Pyrenees Mountains all the way to Cadiz, in the south of Spain.

“Thanks to this find, you can pinpoint down to the last centimeter where you are on the Via Augusta – the main road through Baetic Hispania that leads to Rome in one direction and to the Atlantic in Cádiz in the other. It was a way of measuring distance and a reference point,” Juan Pedro Bellón, researcher and head of the Iliturgi Project at Jaén University (UJA), said.

Remains of the Via Augusta in Sagunto. (Enrique Íñiguez Rodríguez/ CC BY SA 3.0 )

A team from the German Archaeological Institute made several attempts to find the arch in the 1980s and reports the researchers were close to the location where the arch has finally been found.

Manuel Molinos, director of the University Institute of Iberian Archeological Research of the UJA, has touted the Janus Augustus Arch discovery a major find, saying:

“it’s being called one of the most important discoveries in the last few decades as it relates to the end of the Iberian world and the start of Rome’s presence.”

Bellón also explored another aspect of the discovery, suggesting that the arch was more than just a simple monument in Roman times. He said , “It’s interesting too to think that people would have carried out certain rituals here in order to cross the border. This arch marked a sacred frontier in the area and there would have been an awareness of crossing this.”

The Arch of Bará, north of Tarragona, was also on the Via Augusta. ( CC BY SA 3.0 )

It has taken time, but now archaeologists state they’ve unearthed the two bases of the Janus Augustus Arch. Bellón said archaeologists have been able to identify some details on the style, order, proportions, and modules of the arch, even though they only have fragments to work with.

They estimate that the monument measured between 6-7 meters tall (19.69-22.97 ft.), 15 meters wide (49.2 ft.), and four meters (13 ft.) deep. It was built from local sandstone during the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus . El País reports that Bellón believes that the rest of the remains of the arch may have been used in the construction of Mengibar Tower, a 13th century Arabic fort.

Remains of the Janus Augustus arch. ( UJA)

Augustus has been credited with having given a large amount of time, attention, and money to the expansion of Roman roads across the empire. He realized that easier access between locations meant a facilitation in trade and trade means money.

Cameo of the emperor Augustus. ( Public Domain )

So that explains the Augustus part of the Janus Augustus Arch’s name. You may be wondering now about Janus. Janus was the Roman god of beginnings and endings. He was a doorkeeper of their heavens and thus has been linked to portal, doors, and arches. The Conversation explains some of his significance for the ancient Romans:

“Janus assumed a key role in all Roman public sacrifices, receiving incense and wine first before other deities. This was because, as the doorkeeper of the heavens, Janus was the route through which one reached the other gods, even Jupiter himself. The text On Agriculture , written by Cato the Elder , describes how offerings would be made to Janus, Jupiter, and Juno as part of the pre-harvest sacrifice to ensure a good crop.”

Bust of the god Janus, Vatican museum, Vatican City. ( Public Domain )

Returning to the Janus Augustus Arch, Andalucía información says that the team is exploring the area around the arch with georadar to see if they can pinpoint the existence of a temple. So far, Bellón said they’ve dug up “ornamental remains and decorative vegetable molds.”

The researchers have also begun the process to see if they can have the arch recognized as a World Heritage Site. Bellón has stressed the importance and possible dangers of the find, stating, “This is not simply of local significance. It has international repercussions. These are the remains of a Roman road that has lasted 2,000 years and we want to raise awareness of its significance. If it’s not properly protected, a tractor could remove it in no time.”

Top Image: Source: A researcher at the remains of the Janus Augustus Arch. Source: UJA


Alicia McDermott holds degrees in Anthropology, Psychology, and International Development Studies and has worked in various fields such as education, anthropology, and tourism. Ever since she was a child Alicia has had a passion for writing and she has written. Read More

A Long-Awaited Reopening

Today the arch is surrounded by a fence and it is not accessible to the public, after the explosion of a car bomb in front of the nearby church of San Giorgio in Velabro, which took place on the night of July 27, 1993. Black crusts and stains disfigure the appearance of the ancient arch, the last monument of the Forum Boarium that remains unrestored. The Arch of Janus was included on the 2016 World Monuments Watch to highlight the opportunity to further elevate the visibility of the Forum Boarium through its restoration. Thanks to support from American Express, WMF will now collaborate with the Superintendency for the Coliseum and the Central Archaeological Area to complete a study and carry out the complete restoration of the arch.

Contrary to popular belief, the arch was not dedicated to the Roman god Janus, but it was named after the Latin word ianua, or door, which was itself derived from the name of the double-headed god of beginnings and transitions.

The Arch of Janus will then join the nearby temples of Hercules and Portunus, which were included on the World Monuments Watch in 1996 and 2006, respectively, and have since been restored thanks to significant support from American Express, the Robert W. Wilson Challenge to Conserve our Heritage, and the Selz Foundation. WMF’s long-standing partnership with the Italian Ministry of Culture has brought back to public attention an important chapter in the life of ancient Rome.

WMF’s long history of conservation projects in Italy has been possible thanks to our local partners and generous donors such as American Express. Through our activities at these heritage sites, our hope is that at the conclusion of each project, the public has the opportunity to better understand how a historic site enriches the lives of the local communities and visitors.