A statue representing Janus, from the Vatican Museum. (Photo by Loudon Dodd) Why was January named after this Roman god? See below...
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A Personal Note (Archive)
January 2, 2017
The month of January takes its name from the Roman god Janus. If you're feeling confused at the beginning of the new year, then Janus is the god for you. In Roman mythology he was the ruler of both endings and beginnings. Just for good measure Janus was also in charge of transitions, of the middle ground, between such opposites as barbarism and civilisation, city and countryside, or youth and adulthood. So you could say he was in charge of everything.
Out with the old, in with the new, business as usual - it was all the same to Janus.
Janus was not the senior god of the Roman world, but he was perhaps the most powerful. He had to be called upon at the beginning of every religious service involving any other god. After all he ruled gateways, including the door through to the godly realm. So in 2017, whether you are dealing with endings or beginnings or anything in between, January is named after a god who kept an eye on all those things, and treated them just the same.
Happy new year
Historical news for January
Following the EU referendum last year, the National Trust is exploring Britain's relationship with Europe through 99 objects drawn from its huge collection across its many properties.
"Each weekday over a period of 99 days, we will be highlighting a particular object on our collections website. We'll be looking at everything from Old Master paintings and priceless heirlooms to some of the more quirky and bizarre items in our collection."
For more details go to https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/europe-and-us-in-99-historic-objects
Anniversaries for January
1st January 45BC: The Julian Calendar comes into effect as the calendar of the Roman Empire. For the first time January 1st is established as the first day of the new year.
6th January 1977: EMI drops the Sex Pistols after unseemly scenes at Heathrow airport. Reports that band members swore at airport staff and spat at each other were the last straw for the exasperated record company. By June of 1977 the Sex Pistols had been signed by Virgin, and were selling huge quanties of their new single, God Save the Queen.
12th January 1976: The crime writer Agatha Christie dies at Winterbrook House in Oxfordshire. She wrote eighty five books during her life, which have sold an estimated two to four billion copies worldwide.
15th January 1973: President Richard Nixon orders the end of American bombing in Vietnam following peace talks in Paris.
20th January 1972: For the first time since the 1930s, the number of unemployed people in Britain tops 1 million. This news is greeted with uproar in the House of Commons. After the Speaker suspends the sitting for ten minutes to restore order, prime minister Edward Heath endures a barrage of abuse from the Labour benches. Today, as of late 2016, there are 1,616, 000 unemployed adults in Britain.
26th January 1982: Unemployment in Britain tops 3 million.
31st January 1983: Finally, after eleven previous attempts had failed, a law comes into effect compelling drivers and front seat passengers in cars on British roads to wear seat belts.
A preview of my novel - about a girl who discovers that surprisingly she can't find her way to the sort of secret world found in story books. So she searches for an alternative.
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Almost all photography on InfoBritain is by InfoBritain or by named contributors. All educational use is permitted, but copyright is reserved for commercial uses. Occasionally we have used copyright free stock images which are available for any use. A note will identify these images.
Thank you to photo contributors Danielle Davis, Jean Edwards, Vicky Eagle of Portsmouth Dockyard, Kevin Edwards, Derick Fusco, Julian Jones, Richard Jones, Jackie Lewis, Debbie Lowless, Judy Mills of the Corinium Museum, Jane Barron of the World Rugby Museum, and Susan Stuart of Old Spitalfields Market.