Saturday, January 21, 2017

Word from Mythology: January

JANUARY. The name of the month "January" comes from the name of a Roman god, Janus. The Romans named the first month of the year Ianuarius mensis, "January (month)," in honor of this god. They chose Janus because he famously has two faces, one looking forward and one looking backward, which makes him a perfect symbol for the end of the old year and the beginning of a new one. You can read more about the god Janus and his symbolic meanings at Wikipedia.

We also get the word "janitor" from this god of two faces. Why? Because in Latin, the janitor was the doorkeeper, and doors have two faces!

The image below shows Janus as depicted in a 16th-century emblem book:

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