Dictionary.com

Which Two-headed God Is January Named After?

Janus

January is often considered the month for deep reflection. We look back at the year behind us, bemoaning our regrets and celebrating our successes. And then, we look forward to the future year. We make well-meaning resolutions and hope for the best.

So, in this way, we’re all a little bit like Janus, the Roman god for which January is named. Janus is usually depicted with having two heads. that face in opposite directions. One looks back to the year departed, and one looks forward to the new and uncertain year ahead.

(The poetic term John Keats coined that describes living your life while accepting that it is filled with uncertainty seems apropos to this transitional time. Learn the term and its exact meaning, here.)

The god Saturn bestowed upon Janus this ability to see into the future and past. His name comes from the Latin word ianua, which means “door.” Janus is the god of doors, gates, doorways, bridges, and passageways, all of which symbolize beginnings and ends. Janus also represented transition, such as the time between youth and adulthood.

If you find it odd that a deity with two heads is the namesake for one of our prominent months, consider the story of the obscure, one-armed Norse god that Tuesday is named after. His name, and history, can be found here.

181 Comments

  1. Lister S -  March 12, 2014 - 7:41 am

    The Christian God (aka father of Jesus) since he’s pretty “Two Faced” to begin with. ha ha

    Reply
  2. Clarisse La Rue -  February 18, 2014 - 2:52 pm

    @Percy Jackson and @Annabeth Chase
    get off the computers!!
    your using like all of the internet at Camp Halfblood
    you keep making my game lag!!

    Reply
  3. Pam -  February 5, 2014 - 2:42 pm

    Hmm. Wonder why Janus is an automatic link to Percy Jackson! :D Guess it doesn’t matter, though… Janus actually started with the myth of Pandora’s jar. It was said that she let out every sin, including confusion. In most illustrated versions of the story, confusion has two heads. People [you know, the Greek mythology nerds like me who look at this stuff] often say that the Romans heard that story and decided to make Janus. Also, they based it off you consciousness [that little voice in your head] that says “What if… you took that passage? Instead of the one you’re on?”

    Also lots of things have Roman bases! Planets, for instance:

    Mars is the Roman name for Ares. Jupiter is Zeus. So on. It’s really confusing, all the switching back and forth. Roman, Greek. When you’re there, copy them. All that. -Pam :D :D

    Reply
  4. Percy Jackson -  February 2, 2014 - 3:26 am

    THANK YOU HERMES!!

    Reply
  5. Annabeth Chase -  January 31, 2014 - 3:01 pm

    Hey Percy. when is our next date
    P.S thank Hermes for the date at Paris

    Reply
    • Emily -  May 1, 2014 - 6:17 am

      wth Why is this turning into PJ roleplay
      btw isn’t Janus a Greek god? Unless… the Greek and Roman form are the same- like Apollo.

      Reply
  6. bob -  January 31, 2014 - 2:59 pm

    cool

    Reply
  7. YO POOP -  January 30, 2014 - 12:39 pm

    IDK

    Reply
  8. YO POOP -  January 30, 2014 - 12:37 pm

    IDK WHAT TO SAY

    Reply
  9. Percy Jackson -  January 30, 2014 - 8:48 am

    @Annabeth:
    Definitely. AND QUIT CALLING ME SEAWEED BRAIN!! :P

    Reply
  10. Annabeth Chase -  January 29, 2014 - 2:26 pm

    Well, I just really don’t like him. I’m sure Percy would agree with me. Right, Seaweed Brain???

    Reply
  11. Jeff -  January 27, 2014 - 6:04 pm

    Oooops lol im such a noob
    I still think the author(s) might have done that on purpose though.

    Reply
  12. wolf tamer and coal miner -  January 26, 2014 - 4:47 am

    @Jeff:
    The name “Janus” in this case comes from Jane, the first member of the Janus branch. It’s the same for the other branches: “Lucian” comes from Luke, “Ekaterina” comes from Katherine, and “Tomas” come from Thomas.

    My name used to be “wolf tamer and tree puncher” but my status has been upgraded to coal miner as of yesterday. Still not a diamond digger though…

    Reply
  13. Jeff -  January 22, 2014 - 6:30 pm

    If just realized something! (if you’ve read 39 clues you’ll know what I’m talking about) One of the Cahill branches is called the Janus. If he’s the god of decisions, then why does the Janus branch focus on art and literature and all that? I don’t get it…

    Reply
  14. raell -  January 22, 2014 - 3:06 pm

    January is named the god of doorways, Janus

    Reply
  15. Annabeth Chase -  January 21, 2014 - 4:13 pm

    Actually, Janus was a two headed god. He was the god of doorways, choices, beginnings, endings, passages, and sometimes time.

    Reply
  16. Roxanne Cajiles -  January 21, 2014 - 4:35 am

    Love reading someone’s thoughts

    Reply
  17. KDW -  January 19, 2014 - 8:04 am

    Janus-a two faced, not two headed, god. Lower case ‘g’ as it is not a proper noun.

    Reply
  18. Kelsey -  January 19, 2014 - 7:25 am

    @Tammy

    Only the one true God is captalized. Pagan gods aren’t.

    Reply
  19. An Awesome Minecrafter -  January 19, 2014 - 6:11 am

    @Tammy:
    The word “god” is only capitalized if you are talking about the God of Christianity (and Judaism). Otherwise, it’s not capitalized. You would write, “We know that God will always keep His promises” but “The Greeks and Romans shared most of their gods.”

    Can anyone tell me what, exactly, Mocreatures is and how to download it for Windows 7 (without crashing Minecraft)?

    Reply
  20. Whoops I Did it Again -  January 16, 2014 - 6:18 pm

    @Emily
    OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG be my best friend forever. I loved warehouse 13 so much!!!

    Reply
  21. Whoops I Did it Again -  January 16, 2014 - 6:16 pm

    @David Loves Rick
    The reason we have 12 months is because July is named after Julius Caesar and August is named after Augustus (his son I believe?)

    SO we’re all out of wack because some Roman men preoccupied with honor decided to name two months for themselves.

    Reply
  22. Tammy -  January 15, 2014 - 10:36 pm

    God is suppose to have a capitol ‘G’. I noticed throughout the whole article not once, with the exception of the title, was it capitalized.

    I know, petty, but it’s a pet peeve of mine. Lol.

    Reply
  23. Percy Jackson -  January 15, 2014 - 3:45 am

    Hi Annabeth!!! :)

    I hate Janus. He was on Kronos’s side. And he kept trying to confuse us in the labyrinth. And he’s ugly-looking with those 2 faces – NOT 2 heads people.

    O===|===[Insert Janus here]=> <– my sword, Riptide (Anaklusmos in Greek)
    STAB!!

    Reply
  24. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  January 14, 2014 - 6:40 am

    @Annabeth Chase:
    :-O! I hope you didn’t see my first comment…

    Reply
  25. Annabeth Chase -  January 11, 2014 - 8:52 am

    Me and Percy met him. He was quite confusing.

    Reply
  26. An Awesome Minecrafter -  January 11, 2014 - 5:34 am

    Wow. I knew this already. Fascinating, though.

    @Cody:
    How in the world does Percy Jackson suck? That makes no sense.

    :D

    I play WolfQuest!

    Reply
  27. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  January 8, 2014 - 3:16 am

    ANGALYSSA WHERE ARE YOU????

    Don’t worry, I’m not mad, just bewildered. It’s like you just disappeared into thin air…uh…cyberspace. :(
    ————————————-
    If you play Minecraft, please post :D below your message. Thanks!

    :D

    Reply
  28. David Loves Rick -  January 7, 2014 - 1:08 pm

    @ Richard Hn, who, on January 2, 2011 at 6:47pm wrote:

    “I thought that the first month of the year in the ancient world was March, so September (“septem”) was the seventh month, October (“octo”) was the eighth month, and December (“decem”) was the tenth month. January would be the eleventh month, so it wouldn’t call for anything regarding old/new year. Someone clarify for me?”

    I could be wrong, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that in ancient times, the Roman calendar had 11 months, not 12. (It may have been the Greek, Persian or some other culture… I can’t remember.) I know that Julius Caesar “standardized” the Roman year at 365.25 days, and at 12 months (I think), hence, the “Julian Calendar”.

    Can anybody else enlighten us further?

    Reply
  29. Jarod -  January 7, 2014 - 11:34 am

    He has two faces Not two heads… Also find me on facebook Cat Hunter

    BTW I dont hunt cats I’m a cat that hunts.

    Find me on Twitter @Cathunter345 or its @cathunter345

    Reply
  30. Cody -  January 7, 2014 - 11:23 am

    Percy Jackson sucks.

    Reply
  31. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  January 7, 2014 - 7:53 am

    @Greeklord:
    I forgot to say “p.m.”

    Reply
  32. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  January 7, 2014 - 7:52 am

    @Greeklord:
    You’re in a different time zone from wherever Dictionary.com is based (somewhere between the eastern seaboard & Texas). My problem is worse – it’s 6:52 for me.

    Reply
  33. Emily -  January 6, 2014 - 9:11 am

    If there is anybody who watches Warehouse 13 as much as I do, there is an episode that mentions Janus.

    Reply
  34. Christina -  January 5, 2014 - 3:44 pm

    I’m stupid… Go get a calendar, me!! GET SOME NUTELLA WHILE YOU’RE AT IT!!

    Reply
  35. Christina -  January 5, 2014 - 3:43 pm

    I just realized he posted that in 2011…
    I was talking the the least recent one…

    O_O

    Reply
  36. Christina -  January 5, 2014 - 3:41 pm

    @Anthony

    Are you talking about the Janus stuff…

    OR THE JANITOR?!??? O_O

    Reply
  37. Mboya Godfrey -  January 4, 2014 - 4:32 am

    Thanks for your info what of days

    Reply
  38. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  January 2, 2014 - 8:59 am

    @Angalyssa:
    Ha ha! I told you you should read the Percy Jackson series, and you said you weren’t much of a reader. If you actually read these awesome books, you might find out why your sister loves them so much! I hope you see this; you haven’t been commenting much. I guess you’re busy… Could you please give me your email address so we can talk much more quickly? Thanks. Oh, and happy Minecrafting this year!

    Reply
  39. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  January 2, 2014 - 6:42 am

    Janus appears in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Battle of the Labyrinth. He tries to confuse Annabeth when she’s deciding where to go and what to do next.

    @A lot of people’s comments:
    Janus has 2 faces, not 2 heads. Also, “Janus” is both his Greek and his Roman name. Greece and Rome shared most, if not all, of their gods & mythology, they just gave their gods different names (Zeus-Jupiter, Hera-Juno, Artemis-Diana, etc.). A few of the Greek & Roman gods had the same name (Apollo, Janus, etc.).

    It’s amazing, the things you can learn from Rick Riordan’s books.

    Does anyone except me think Percy is really cute? (But you’d better not let Annabeth Chase see that; she’d kill me. ;) )

    Minecrafters forever!

    I see my comment is exactly 3 years from the first comment listed here.

    Reply
  40. Gavin -  October 22, 2013 - 10:37 am

    I never knew

    Reply
  41. SYE -  January 31, 2013 - 9:28 pm

    JANUS FACED: INDIVIDULAL NOT TO BE TRUSTED

    Reply
  42. Bob Gary -  January 31, 2013 - 8:04 am

    I knew it! Thank you Rick Riordan for writing the Battle of the Labryinth!

    Reply
  43. Percy Jackson 4eva -  January 30, 2013 - 10:29 pm

    Technically, Janus is the first Roman god mentioned in the Percy Jackson series.

    Reply
  44. Percy Jackson 4eva -  January 30, 2013 - 10:26 pm

    Quote from Janus in Percy Jackson: “I’m your best friend, I’m your worst enemy, I’m Janus, God of Doorways. Beginnings. Endings. Choices. “

    Reply
  45. Percy Jackson 4eva -  January 30, 2013 - 10:24 pm

    The Battle of the Labyrinth (book 4 in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series) has the god Janus in it. I did some research and it turns out Janus is a Roman god, not Greek. The Greek version of Janus is Ianus.

    Reply
  46. ayaz -  January 30, 2013 - 2:40 pm

    i know this too

    Reply
  47. Ethan -  January 30, 2013 - 2:11 pm

    I knew this from the percy jackson series

    Reply
  48. someguy -  January 30, 2013 - 9:13 am

    “Appropos” is misspelled. The correct spelling is “apropos.”
    Source: Dictionary.com
    Way to drop the ball guys.
    +1 to shayne

    Reply
  49. Princess -  January 30, 2013 - 6:18 am

    COOL IM IN JANUARY :0

    Reply
  50. Princess -  January 30, 2013 - 6:17 am

    AWESOME

    Reply
  51. xavier -  January 30, 2013 - 12:35 am

    hey isnt another month named after Juno (hera if you perfer) it is june isnt it if it isnt correct me than thnx

    Reply
  52. ecliphxian -  January 23, 2013 - 11:04 am

    it is impossible that God wouldn’t be touched in this issue. ever since the world begun, God is there.

    Reply
  53. spuds -  January 20, 2013 - 5:08 pm

    he is a greeak

    Reply
  54. Jim M. -  January 18, 2013 - 12:52 pm

    Does anyone else think of Janus cars from Sherlock?

    Maybe it’s just me…

    I also find this fascinating due to my interest in mythology.

    Reply
  55. Anna Maureen Labisig -  January 17, 2013 - 9:10 pm

    Janus the two headed person………..Does it exist today????????maybe but January is the first month of the year………

    Reply
  56. Anna Maureen Labisig -  January 17, 2013 - 9:07 pm

    Now! I know that January originally from the word Janus,,,,,,,,,i really love to read it again……

    Reply
  57. rosesarered -  January 17, 2013 - 6:23 pm

    this is interesting! thanks!

    Reply
  58. Suja -  January 17, 2013 - 3:36 am

    Janus is Roman. He appeared in Percy Jackson in the Battle of the Labriynth. He is said to appear before a person when he or she has to make a decision between 2 or more (but usually 2) options. When this happens, his two heads are supposed to be arguing with each other to confuse the person. He is usually portrayed as annoying and irritating but some accounts state him as horrible and terrifying. Janus is a minor god but also said to be the god of decisions and ways.

    Reply
  59. Keambra Green -  January 15, 2013 - 10:39 am

    very interesting way to learn about history

    Reply
  60. Brandon -  January 14, 2013 - 4:30 pm

    Very Interesting, but I do think Janus is a Greek god or they just share the same name. I remember that he appeared once of twice in the Percy Jackson series.

    Reply
  61. greeklord -  January 14, 2013 - 12:15 pm

    just saying, this things clock is wrong, it is 3:15 where i am

    Reply
  62. greeklord -  January 14, 2013 - 12:14 pm

    janus is greek this doof just got mixed up

    Reply
  63. jumbojumbojumbo -  January 13, 2013 - 9:39 pm

    are there any god of dogs or cats or something like that??

    Reply
  64. jumbojumbojumbo -  January 13, 2013 - 9:37 pm

    uh…ok…weird story

    Reply
  65. ButterflyB -  January 12, 2013 - 8:51 pm

    Loved It!! I Knew I was born January for a Reason; this is Exactly what I do on birthday Every Year Look & Look forward with Excitment!! Wow Thanks for the info…Good Read & must Share!! BB :) :)

    Reply
  66. mist -  January 10, 2013 - 11:00 pm

    very interesting we learn something new every day

    Reply
  67. janus -  January 10, 2013 - 10:36 pm

    p.s. i think the more accurate description is that janus was two-faced. either way, i enjoyed the blog.

    Reply
  68. janus -  January 10, 2013 - 10:24 pm

    Janus is actually my given name. i’ve known this scoop about january & janus since i was a kid. i appreciate such a succinct and well articulated explanation. it is cool info and it is an interesting given name to bear (especially as a woman)

    Reply
  69. DISHA -  January 9, 2013 - 6:20 pm

    COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I never knew that

    Reply
  70. Crazy person -  January 9, 2013 - 3:00 pm

    @ a lot of people’s comments, I see that you say that Janus is a Greek god. True, but he’s Roman because the Romans used the same gods and goddesses as the Greeks, but they just put Roman names in the Greek names’ place.

    Reply
  71. Summer Swift -  January 9, 2013 - 5:57 am

    REALLY NICEE FACTS!
    btw (by the way) my BIRTHDAY IS ON JAN 01 2001.
    01/01/01
    A WONDERFUL PATTERN!

    Reply
  72. LaContra -  January 9, 2013 - 1:44 am

    Janus doesn’t have ‘two heads’ he has two faces on the same head, on looking forward and one facing back.

    Reply
  73. ABDUSSALAM OMAR DAHO -  January 8, 2013 - 10:03 am

    i didn’t suprise on origin janus if you go back and review founder of cristiany like paul to now

    Reply
  74. danielle -  January 7, 2013 - 2:03 pm

    a little dumb but ok

    Reply
  75. Abby -  January 6, 2013 - 1:16 pm

    I knew this already! Only Janus is two-faced, not two-headed. You learn a lot from Percy Jackson and the Olympians, my favorite series ever!

    Reply
  76. N. SWATI -  January 5, 2013 - 10:29 pm

    the story behind the month , january…. which is actually two headed side, representing door.

    Reply
  77. N. SWATI -  January 5, 2013 - 10:27 pm

    it was really interesting to know about

    Reply
  78. Mote -  January 4, 2013 - 1:35 pm

    Really cool

    Reply
  79. Jan -  January 4, 2013 - 10:10 am

    I did not know that until now interesting. Very Interesting.(V.I)

    Reply
  80. Lowena -  January 4, 2013 - 6:08 am

    I knew this one from Sherlock. In Series 1 Episode 3 “The Great Game” there is a car rental company called Janus Cars but it isn’t all that it seems.

    Reply
  81. Anna -  January 2, 2013 - 5:08 pm

    I actually new this and I’m 10! But I do read a lot of books. I read one about roman/Greek mythology, and it mentioned Janus as the god of doors, but it was like two years ago. I’m surprised that I remembered it!

    Reply
  82. Lavanya -  January 2, 2013 - 1:34 am

    I really like this fact and it’s really interesting. Greek mythology has many secrets and many are yet to be revealed. :-)

    Reply
  83. Hannah -  January 1, 2013 - 5:19 pm

    You know, in Greek Mythology, Janus is actually a two-headed god of Doorways. They try to cause confusion. One leads to the beholder’s destiny, while the other leads to certain death. I think this is where we get High Road/Low Road. You know, two choices with different outcomes? Most people are (in myths) rumored to run into Janus in the Labyrinth, because the maze was designed to bring up your darkest fears that you threw into the deepest corners of your mind and bring them to life in front of you. Why do you think Daedalus went crazy?

    Reply
  84. Lucas Groves -  January 1, 2013 - 12:58 pm

    @ Kevin Faulkner:

    The fact that someone did not differentiate between a face and a head is not a reliable indicator of their capability to do so. For some of us, the argument over whether Janus was two-headed or two-faced is quite silly, given that he is entirely a mythological entity. (Sorry to the remnant Janusite community.)

    Even IF it had been an error to describe Janus as two-headed, the assertion that any information “disseminated” by someone becomes invalidated by the commission of such an error is absurdly pompous. Actually, the fact that you cannot differentiate between a single specific statement (the wrongly alleged error) and any others (the rest of Hot Word’s disseminated information) rather severely invalidates any criticism you have made.

    This is especially true because your own post contains multiple errors that are more fundamental. The fact that your sentence beginning “As stated on January 1st…” lacks an instance of the definite article (“in post on Janus”), includes a misuse of the indefinite article (“to be an perfect”), and disregards the need for punctuation (commas) shows that you could have paid more attention during your early schooling.

    Please bear in mind that to contribute information in a shared space is to exercise a privilege that is often made complex by intersecting grammatical and factual requirements. Your contribution—for seemingly a well-educated person—is in this case disappointing!

    Reply
  85. bob 3.14159 -  January 1, 2013 - 11:16 am

    He’s TWO-FACED not TWO-HEADED

    Reply
  86. coolman -  January 1, 2013 - 11:13 am

    and a happy new year

    Reply
  87. coolman -  January 1, 2013 - 11:11 am

    Thank you,thank you needed the information

    Reply
  88. bob 3.14159 -  January 1, 2013 - 11:07 am

    Janus is TWO-FACED not TWO-HEADED!

    Reply
  89. kyrsten -  December 12, 2012 - 1:07 pm

    I am actually doing something right now and I need to know why Janus is so unusual!

    Reply
  90. Janus january | Momanimusic -  September 19, 2012 - 10:45 am

    [...] Which two-headed god is January named after, and what does the …Jan 2, 2011 … So, in this way, we’re all a little bit like Janus, the Roman god for which January is named. Janus is usually depicted with having two heads. that … [...]

    Reply
  91. diamond -  March 14, 2012 - 3:28 am

    Jan is tooooo long i feel for that deep reflection really now….Hate the mnth of jan

    Reply
  92. why do you want to know -  February 4, 2012 - 10:40 am

    yeah, so i thought that janus had two FACES, not two heads… and that’s what the pictures shows, too. so, its two faces, not heads.

    Reply
  93. Random Person -  February 2, 2012 - 3:34 pm

    I thought dece = deci?!

    Reply
  94. Vindu -  February 2, 2012 - 11:28 am

    Nice

    @ Roy Mustang: Myth is from that what existed b4. See the difinition of myth: 1.”a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event…” Dictionary.com

    @Richard Comish: What about the French doors! that works both ways! do they not!!!

    Thanks as always

    Reply
  95. Noqeb beb Kefa -  January 13, 2012 - 9:56 am

    The letter J does not appear in the Hebrew language JahfroJahvid. For J please substitute Y. So the name of the father is Yah

    Reply
  96. Sackeyteh -  January 5, 2012 - 3:58 pm

    Janus is really king of doors and gates

    Reply
  97. venus -  January 4, 2012 - 4:41 pm

    I ‘m need 5 facts about janus soooo……. this wAS VERRY HELPFUL! THANKYOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

    Reply
  98. Dominga Binns -  February 27, 2011 - 9:28 am

    Super information indeed. Friend on mine has been searching for this content

    Reply
  99. The Demon Ira -  January 31, 2011 - 7:44 am

    And yes, Janus was GREEK not Roman.

    Reply
  100. The Demon Ira -  January 31, 2011 - 7:42 am

    I should point out, as a Follower of the Greek Gods, that Janus represented Choices in the life of Humanity.

    He was symbolized by Two Doors, and did not reflect the transition of Child and Adult. This is a fact that I utterly see as false.

    Reply
  101. Rune -  January 27, 2011 - 7:43 am

    Oh come, Tyr is not obscure. At least not to anyone who’s reasonably well read.

    Reply
  102. spunkybabe -  January 27, 2011 - 5:18 am

    If January is a month of reflection according to this article, what about December? Afterall, some people look at the passing year and reflect on what was good or bad. They also plan for the coming year. What have you got to say about that?

    Reply
  103. Vishnu -  January 13, 2011 - 11:29 pm

    nice research work on the etymology

    Reply
  104. anna -  January 13, 2011 - 6:27 pm

    i just read that from percy jackson and the olympians!! heheheh funny~

    Reply
  105. adam carolla's disciple -  January 13, 2011 - 11:55 am

    janus is an investment firm, too. they look at market trends – old and new – to pick the best investments for their clients.

    would it be okay if i named my future daughter janus, a variant of janice? even though janus was a god and not a goddess?

    Reply
  106. mark v -  January 7, 2011 - 8:27 am

    After google imagesearching, i have come to the conclusion that “two headed” could be considered accurate. Most people probably assume that also mean Two-necked, but no.
    Alot of statues and commemorative coins show him with a conjoined back of the skull, giving him two different tops to two distincly head-shaped formations

    So while he may be HISTORICALLY known for being two-faced. Dictionary.com is correct for saying he is DEPICTED as two-headed.
    Burn on all you doubters.

    Reply
  107. Curly -  January 6, 2011 - 3:49 am

    @Dragon and @Maia:

    Janus, in fact, has no Greek counterpart, which is quite rare.

    @Saf:

    I pronounce it the way you do, and my dictionary agrees.

    [jánnyoo erree]
    Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    Reply
  108. Kevin Faulkner -  January 6, 2011 - 2:10 am

    The fact that you cannot differentiate between a face and a head almost invalidates any information you wish to disseminate. Janus is 2 faced NOT 2 headed. As stated on January 1st in post on Janus the psychologist Carl Jung considered the god to be an perfect symbol of the human psyche.

    Reply
  109. Thomas -  January 5, 2011 - 7:05 am

    My name is Thomas and i feel left out :(

    Reply
  110. ESL -  January 4, 2011 - 10:14 pm

    My 5th grade teacher taught us this. Janus sounds more Greek than Roman.

    Reply
  111. Anonymous -  January 4, 2011 - 12:06 pm

    @clover: Julius Augustus added two months to the year, July and August. October was originally the eighth month (hence the “octo”, meaning eight) and December was the tenth month; then it was “booted” forward to the twelfth and October to the tenth. Julius must have been quite self-centered to add two months and then name them after himself! LOL

    Reply
  112. Aaron Garrity -  January 4, 2011 - 12:05 pm

    [...] more prepared, this year. In fact, January is named for the Roman god Janus, who is usually depicted having two heads that face in opposite directions. One looks back to the year departed, and one looks forward to the [...]

    Reply
  113. Kobie LOVES Mike -  January 4, 2011 - 5:32 am

    my birthday is on the 9th of this month, too Sandy LOVES Mike!!!

    Reply
  114. Laiba Chaudhry -  January 3, 2011 - 4:28 pm

    Write now, in 6th grade I am studying Greek Mythology and I guessed it was Janus since its the only Greek God I learned about witch has two heads. Glad to know I am right. I love studying knew things.

    Reply
  115. Laiba Chaudhry -  January 3, 2011 - 4:27 pm

    Write now, in 6th grade I am studying Greek Mythology and I guessed it was Janus since its the only Greek God I learned about witch has two heads. Glad to know I am right.

    Reply
  116. Ed H -  January 3, 2011 - 4:23 pm

    Janus is Roman, not Greek, and the word “janitor” does derive from the god Janus. This was also a Final Jeopardy question that only one person got right, and subsequently went from last to first place.

    However, January was NOT the first month in the Roman calendar: March was the first month. This is why to us all the last months’ names seem incorrect: in Roman times September was not the 9th month, it was the seventh; December was not the 10th month, it was the twelfth, etc. July and August, our 7th and 8th months, were originally called Quintilis and Sextilis (5th and 6th months) until Julius Caesar and Augustus named them after themselves (and each took a day from the last month of the year [February] so their months would be among the largest).

    Reply
  117. booooooooooop -  January 3, 2011 - 4:18 pm

    i thought january and june were named after julius ceaser

    Reply
  118. Nessie -  January 3, 2011 - 4:16 pm

    This article was a great distraction from homework.I wish they made more schools for those with short attention spans.Intersting article,and I agree with you Maia. princessperfect it’s not weird to use punctuation and capitals,it’s a sign of lower education and poor comunacation skills to not use proper gramer.

    Reply
  119. George Rabadi -  January 3, 2011 - 3:17 pm

    The Roman’s origin calendar had Only 10 months so March was considered the first month, but during the reign of Numa Pompilio January and February were add, so January became to be the first month instead.

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  120. Liza -  January 3, 2011 - 3:08 pm

    I knew this answer and I am 12! Well, i do take latin and have a very large interest in Greek and Roman Mythology. I didn’t even read this article and I know this God is Roman Janus, God of door ways, entrances, etc. Also beginnings with is why January comes from it because it is the beginning of a new year!

    Reply
  121. princessperfect -  January 3, 2011 - 2:37 pm

    i wud just like to say that this article is very interesting and that u adults shouldnt use punctuation and capitals… thats just weird =P just a suggestion =D

    Reply
  122. Jen -  January 3, 2011 - 2:10 pm

    @ Saf-
    I am from the midwest, and put the emphasis on the “air”.

    Reply
  123. Marx Lenn Mendoza -  January 3, 2011 - 1:58 pm

    nice, this one is really good. actually every one does it, looking back of the past and think of the mistakes and successes and things what we may learn from it to be ready for the future and what will it offer. my 2010 is not a really good year, the worst of all the years i had in my 24 years of existence and i am really looking forward for 2011 to be something better, not good, but at least better…we may all have a good outlook and enjoy life….

    Reply
  124. kemi olabode -  January 3, 2011 - 1:53 pm

    Great discovery!

    Reply
  125. Lilliana -  January 3, 2011 - 1:26 pm

    In the Bible, April is the first month. To bad that’s where they put April Fools Day…

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  126. Margret -  January 3, 2011 - 1:12 pm

    Its Janus/Ixion Right????? I did a report on him! A “New Door” Correctomundo?

    Reply
  127. chasity -  January 3, 2011 - 12:36 pm

    wowww i wonder how did the other months got their names

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  128. Tim Smithson -  January 3, 2011 - 12:01 pm

    I thought Janus was two-faced not two-headed? As in, he had one head and two faces. Anyone else think this as well?

    Reply
  129. Blah -  January 3, 2011 - 11:45 am

    Janus is actually a greek god…… :)

    Reply
  130. Saf -  January 3, 2011 - 10:24 am

    I’ve always pronounced it Jan-yoo-er-ee, but I always hear people pronounce it as Jan-yoo-air-ee (emphasis on the air). Is that just a southern thing? What’s the consensus?

    ~Saf

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  131. shayne -  January 3, 2011 - 10:22 am

    Is appropos misspelled? “apropos” right?

    Reply
  132. Maia -  January 3, 2011 - 9:59 am

    Wouldn’t Janus be greek? I know that he’s in both Romand and Greek mythology, but didn’t the greeks come first?

    Anyways, good article. I liked it. AND HEY, I KNEW THAT!!!! Haha, sorry.

    And I’m also glad that there aren’t really any comments on religion, it annoys me when people post about God on here yelling about how terrible these articals are. I’m a Christian too, but I see no issue with learning about the origins of words, even if they do come from the names of other gods. Just because it’s named after a god, doesn’t mean that we’re worshiping said god by learning about it, guys. Chill.

    Reply
  133. Madhu -  January 3, 2011 - 9:46 am

    This is a very useful and new info. to me. Any idea about the other months?

    Reply
  134. ishan -  January 3, 2011 - 9:43 am

    It’s very good information

    Reply
  135. Scarlett -  January 3, 2011 - 9:28 am

    My birthday is in January and so is my dad’s. Thank you for sharing such awesome information Mr. Dictionary. You will always be my friend. LOL

    Reply
  136. A Liberal in Lakeview (n. side of Chicago) -  January 3, 2011 - 8:58 am

    @Richard Hn (January 2, 2011 at 6:47 pm)

    You thought correctly that decem means ten. One should pronounce it as “dekem” when using the classical method of pronunciation, of which the rules are simpler than the ecclesiastical method. By the latter method, one would say “dechem”, with ch as in cherry, given that c precedes e.

    I suspect that the trick to understanding the Romans’ calendar is that they had two concepts of year. There is one that is secular, for business, legal, and other worldly affairs, and another for religious purposes. (Pls bear in mind again that I am speculating.) At any rate, in the 12th month, “Februarius”, there is a holiday called “febrorum”, “the Roman festival of purification and expiation, celebrated on February 15th”. The noun, “februum”, means “purgation, purification”.

    “Janus also represented transition”, as it reads at http://www.dictionary.com, and his month is for looking forward and looking back, for reflecting upon what was right and what was not. Then, in the middle of the next month, one uses the results of this reflection to motivate purgation of bad ideas and habits.

    Then comes March, another new year and a time for new beginning. From March 19th through the 23rd is the “Quinquatrus” (aka “Quinquatria”), a festival celebrated in honor of Minerva, “goddess of wisdom and of the arts and sciences, identified with Pallas Athene”.

    Figuratively “minerva” indicates “skill, genius” as well as “spinning and weaving”. I suppose the idea is to begin in March to make use of the fruits of the past two months’ reflection and purification and to get to work on new projects that came to mind as a result of the exercises during those months.

    Source: The New College Latin & English Dictionary, c. 1966, 17th printing-1981, by John C. Trauptman, Ph. D.

    Happy new year.

    Gratias to http://www.dictionary.com for “the hot word”.

    Reply
  137. Sandy LOVES Mike -  January 3, 2011 - 8:32 am

    This’ll be the perfect report for school!! I’m impressed!! :) @ JahfroJahvid / Shalom, you are totally correct! My teacher will love the report ( I know because she LOVES this website). Another reason is because I’m her favorite student (I’m serious)!! My birthday is this month too! I’ll be 20 years old!! Its on the 9th (my birthday is)!! There’s soooo much to do, I’d better get busy!! Just kidding!! I LOVE YOU http://www.dictionary.com!!! Later, everyone!!

    Reply
  138. Carly -  January 3, 2011 - 8:09 am

    He is the same in Greek mythology. A two-faced minor god whose domain resides in choices, past and future, changes, doors, and options.

    This is one of my favorite things to study. I love the random topics that are chosen for the hot word of the day.

    Reply
  139. Debbie Bates -  January 3, 2011 - 7:32 am

    I blogged about Janus on January 1 and included my photo of what is now known as the ‘Arch of Janus’ in Rome (however the attribution appears to have changed from the later day “Arch of Constantine” to the more timeless ‘Janus’ sometime during the Renaissance). It is a “quadrifrons triumphal arch”- something that I had to look up at dictionary.com! (Thank you) Read more here: http://wp.me/pvdQG-di

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  140. David -  January 3, 2011 - 7:24 am

    How could I possibly leave a comment following the one immediately preceding???

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  141. Wu -  January 3, 2011 - 7:18 am

    very interesting and it is very help to a person whose native language is Chinese to learn those facts.

    Reply
  142. Thomas -  January 3, 2011 - 6:53 am

    my name is thomas

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  143. Raina bo baina -  January 3, 2011 - 6:33 am

    Informative as always! I <3 Hot Word!

    –Raina

    Reply
  144. a -  January 3, 2011 - 5:57 am

    i love words

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  145. clover -  January 3, 2011 - 4:36 am

    @ JahfroJahvid / Shalom

    Then how do you explain that December is the 11th month of the year in the ancient calendar, while the prefix dec- stands for tens? (Sorry if I got my facts wrong, basing purely off the info mentioned in this thread here.)

    Reply
  146. rolf -  January 3, 2011 - 4:20 am

    thanks 4 ds

    Reply
  147. Tons -  January 3, 2011 - 2:32 am

    Yea that figure is not two headed but actually two faced which means somebody published a n error knowingly or unaware-whether it was named after Greek or Roman gods is questionable because both of these nations are ultimatly babies compared to world history and the creation of the calender.

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  148. J.R. -  January 3, 2011 - 2:24 am

    that god’s name is so close 2 my name

    Reply
  149. swati naruka -  January 3, 2011 - 1:16 am

    wov… thats interesting and never thought of it earlier!!!

    Reply
  150. Nazir Habib -  January 3, 2011 - 1:15 am

    Very interesting and informative. Succintly written, easy to go through and thought provoking.

    Salams and best wishes for 2011.

    Reply
  151. Suresh -  January 3, 2011 - 1:03 am

    Good work..

    Reply
  152. boo boo : ) -  January 3, 2011 - 12:56 am

    Boo Boo likes it! Good stuff.

    Reply
  153. JahfroJahvid -  January 2, 2011 - 10:03 pm

    Greetings,

    I learned this knowledge about 10 years ago, when I began to study the origin of calendars. Since then, I have learned that in the ancient world, right from the beginning of time; that the month we know of as February was in fact the first month of the year. In other words, the time of February was marked as the beginning of spring and the first month of the year….NOT March or April, as some profess today. The twelve months of the year, initially were called by their numerical numbers (1st month,2nd, 3rd etc…) and latter were given Hebrew and many other National names. Knowing that the time of February (also named after a Roman god) was the true beginning of the year, makes the meaning of Janus or January much more interesting. Even by the Romans, the month February was a time of Spring cleaning! The true Original Calendar or Almenach was originated by The Holy One of Israel, whose name is JAH; IN THE BEGINNING of time. It began at the beginning of Creation on the FIRST DAY……”…and the evening and the morning were the first day.” That first day, marked the First Day of the first 7 day week, the First Day of the first month, the First Day of the first year and so on….We are truly in the year 6210 from the beginning. That’s six thousand, two hundred and ten years from the beginning…….NOT 6 million/billion or so years! There is much more to be said on this subject, but this will suffice for now.

    Shalom

    Reply
  154. rashmi -  January 2, 2011 - 8:53 pm

    i liked it…

    Reply
  155. chris martinez -  January 2, 2011 - 8:52 pm

    This is amazing

    Reply
  156. Ben -  January 2, 2011 - 7:57 pm

    “Which two-headed god is January named after”

    It should be two-faced not two-headed.

    Reply
  157. khadnizar -  January 2, 2011 - 7:27 pm

    Wow! this is really great! I want to read some more. :)

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  158. George Oberst -  January 2, 2011 - 6:53 pm

    Shiela–You can google “origins of names of months” and get several websites with the info.

    Reply
  159. Richard Hn -  January 2, 2011 - 6:47 pm

    I thought that the first month of the year in the ancient world was March, so September (“septem”) was the seventh month, October (“octo”) was the eighth month, and December (“decem”) was the tenth month. January would be the eleventh month, so it wouldn’t call for anything regarding old/new year. Someone clarify for me?

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  160. adli -  January 2, 2011 - 6:42 pm

    Wow, thanks for the info. This is interesting info.Never thought about it either.For sometime , i was thinking where the in the earth , how did the months has been named.Very much appreciated for the info.

    Reply
  161. SHEILA RICHARDS-MEYD -  January 2, 2011 - 5:29 pm

    THIS AWSOME INFO THANKS SO MUCH. WHERE COULD ONE GET INFO ON ALL THE MONTHS?

    Reply
  162. Richard Comaish -  January 2, 2011 - 5:24 pm

    And yet it’s hard to find a door that works both ways.

    Reply
  163. dragonfriend -  January 2, 2011 - 5:04 pm

    Janus is two-faced, not two-headed.I already knew this- but look at the picture.

    Reply
  164. dan -  January 2, 2011 - 5:01 pm

    ha..i guessed the name..i just finished reading mythology…a book of a general concept and stories…and now..The Odyssey…im not a big fan of mythology..but the stories are quite interesting

    Reply
  165. Jan.3 what day is it today anyway -  January 2, 2011 - 4:27 pm

    If transitional with uncertainity, then after which state, anything productive as a god is who.

    Reply
  166. roy mustang -  January 2, 2011 - 3:55 pm

    i dont believe in any of the roman gods; i believe that they’re just myths and if they are realy real, i’d love some proof

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  167. Nikki -  January 2, 2011 - 3:28 pm

    @Cyberquill: you are right. Just like the prefix “dec” for December, decade, decathlon etc, the prefix “jan” is used the same way for words associated with it.

    -Nicola

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  168. Dragon -  January 2, 2011 - 3:26 pm

    Guessed it! But I could’ve sworn Janus was Greek…?

    Reply
  169. Nikki -  January 2, 2011 - 3:25 pm

    Very interesting information. However, you have lacked some necessary punctuation, such as the right parentheses to end the small section about the poetic term John Keats coined. Despite this, this is a pretty good effort. Good job, Hot Word. Keep it up!

    -Nicola

    Reply
  170. hi2 -  January 2, 2011 - 2:50 pm

    cool!

    Reply
  171. JANUS | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  January 2, 2011 - 2:36 pm

    [...] January — another year contrary — we eat too much of dairy, — being pulled both to and fro. — The method of derision is not an ultimate decision — no matter which way the gods are looking, — we know it’s little that we know. — However, when the door is open, — We take a step on through. — Of course it’s a Trap. — We’re out of our minds — but we do it all for you. — At Burger King or McDonald’s, — it’s all about the same. — Although the Golden Arches and Coca-Cola play the big Inter-Galactic game. — Hooray for the Red, White and Yellow! — But don’t count out Colonel Buddha. — What else is there to do? — Of course it’s a Trap and we know we’re a Sap and a Happy New Year to you. — Which one of us do you mean? – Yah, sure, You Betcha. –>>Rupert L.T.Rhyme [...]

    Reply
  172. hi -  January 2, 2011 - 2:33 pm

    I knew that!!!!!!

    Reply
  173. Cyberquill -  January 2, 2011 - 2:33 pm

    Janus, the god of doors. Janitor, a doorman. Makes sense.

    Reply
  174. Sewa Dass -  January 2, 2011 - 2:22 pm

    Wow! Really strange… never thought of it. Interesting.

    Reply
  175. Sewa Dass -  January 2, 2011 - 2:21 pm

    WoW really strange …… never think of it earlier.

    Reply
  176. Anthony -  January 2, 2011 - 1:53 pm

    I actually knew all of this because I did a project in 7th grade about Janus. Glad to see I got all my facts correct!

    Reply

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