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Bill Thayer

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 p277  Aedes Jani​a

Article on pp277‑278 of

Samuel Ball Platner (as completed and revised by Thomas Ashby):
A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome,
London: Oxford University Press, 1929.

Black-and‑white images are from Platner; any color photos are mine © William P. Thayer

Ianus, aedes * (templum, Tac.): a temple in the forum Holitorium, built by C. Duilius after the victory at Mylae (Tac. Ann. II.49). Its position is defined as ad theatrum Marcelli (Fast. Allif. et Vall. ad XVI Kal. Sept., CIL I2 p217, 240; Fast. Amit. ad XV Kal. Nov., CIL I2 p245, 325, 332), iuxta theatrum Marcelli (Serv. Aen. VII.607, which is an interpolation),​1 and extra portam Carmentalem (Fest. 285). The day of dedication was the Portunalia, 17th August (see Fast. Allif. et Vallens.; and for the significance of the fact, Pais, Fasti Triumphales Capitolini, II.474‑478). The restoration of this temple was begun by Augustus and completed by Tiberius in 17 A.D. (Tac. loc. cit.), but the dedication day of the restored structure was 18th October (Fast. Amit.). According to Pliny (NH XXXVI.28) Augustus dedicated in this temple a statue to Janus which was brought from Egypt, the work either of Scopas or Praxiteles. It was probably the Ἑρμῆς δικέφαλος of the former (WR 106; Jahr. d. Inst. 1890, 148‑149). The statement is made (Fest. 285) that the senate was forbidden to meet in this temple because their decree that the Fabii should go forth to the siege of Veii was made in aede Jani; but this is probably apocryphal, for there is no evidence of an earlier temple of Janus in Rome in which a meeting of the senate could have been held. The structure of Duilius, however, was probably on the site of an earlier shrine (HJ 508; Rosch. II.26; Gilb. I.260‑265; III.380; Jord. I.2.347).

Under the present church of S. Nicola in Carcere are the ruins of three temples, standing side by side with the same orientation and facing the forum Holitorium. The architectural fragments are of travertine, tufa and peperino (all of which were covered with stucco), except some of marble of the later restorations, and belong to the period of the republic. The central and largest is Ionic, that on the north is next in size and also Ionic, while that on the south is smallest and Doric. The second, on the north, is generally assumed to be the temple of Janus. It is dated by Frank to about 90 B.C. It is hexastyle, peripteral except at the back, and six of its columns, 0.70 metre in diameter, are still standing, built into the wall of the church.

[image ALT: The exterior side wall of a small stone building, in which are embedded six Roman columns and most of the entablature they support. It is a view of the church of S. Nicola in Carcere, in Rome, with the remains of what has been identified as a temple of Janus.]

S. Nicola in Carcere, 1998: the six columns in the south wall of the church.

The temple in the middle is assigned to Spes, and the smallest to Iuno Sospita (HJ 507‑514; Mitt. 1906, 169‑192; LR 513‑514; Delbrück, Die drei Tempel am Forum Holitorium, Rome, 1903; for divergent views see ZA 238‑248; TF 126‑130). It may be remarked, in regard to the latter's theory, that the order of the last two  p278 temples should be reversed, and that, while it may require some explanation that the temple of Janus was not damaged by the fire of 213, it is even more difficult to suppose that the central temple was fitted in the space between two smaller temples already in existence. In pursuance of this theory, Frank assigns the southern temple in its present form to a restoration of 31 B.C. The central temple he dates about 90 B.C. See Gött. Gel. Anz. 1903, 556; 1904, 561; Delbrück, Hellenistische Bauten, II.43; RE Suppl. III.1183; and cf. Porta Carmentalis.

For restorations, see D'Esp. Mon. II.128‑129.

It should be noted that the name of the church (in Carcere) was only changed to in Carcere Tulliano in the fourteenth century, owing to an erroneous identification. The carcer was really that of Byzantine times (LPD I.515, n13; II.295, n12).

The Authors' Note:

1 This is Jordan's view, but is not warranted by Thilo's apparatus criticus. It is much more likely that a scholiast confused this temple with the Janus at the bottom of the Argiletum, and accordingly wrote 'sacrarium hoc, id est belli portas, Numa Pompilius fecit circa imum Argiletum iuxta theatrum Marcelli' (cf. Liv. I.19.2). This is the second of the alternatives suggested by Wissowa in Gött. Gel. Anz. 1904, 562.

Thayer's Note:

a Despite the lack of any qualifying epithet, this is not the famous temple open in time of war and closed in time of peace, for which the gentle reader should see the Temple of Janus Geminus.

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