Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings, appears as two heads or four tails on new silver coin

The god of beginningsĀ  and endings, of transition and time, of doorways and passages – Janus was a popular part of the mythology that permeated Ancient Roman society. Even in celebrations for one of the myriad other gods in the Roman pantheon, Janus was invoked at its initiation. Unlike most Roman gods, Janus had no equivalent in Ancient Greece, so perhaps the Romans just liked a party a bit more than the Greeks did. Whatever the case, he was an extremely important deity in Roman life.

Despite that, this wasn’t a god with hundreds of temples dedicated to him. The structure most associated with him is certainly an old one. Built by the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, the Temple of Janus stood in the Roman Forum near the Argiletum. A statue of Janus stood in its centre, and each end of the building had doors which were closed in times of peace, and open in times of war. Early Rome after the death of Numa, was in a state of almost perpetual warfare as it expanded its way across Italy, and the gates remained open for four centuries until 235 BCE. The gates were next closed for just eight years, over two centuries later and only a few times after that. The remains of the temple still stand beside the Basilica Aemilia.

The coin is less like the numerous ancient mythology coins that have been pushing minting boundaries over the last couple of years, and more in the style of an ancient coin. A non-uniform edge and an artistic style inspired by the period, give this an ancient feel, even if only in a cursory manner. The reverse face carries the traditional representation of Janus – as a two facedgod that looks both forward and backward in time. A lightly patterned border surrounds the image. The obverse is quite similar in layout, although the image this time is of a three-horse chariot ridden by a Roman in a toga (off to a toga party perhaps…). The date and denomination are inscribed here.

At the bottom of the coin is a window that holds a piece of amethyst visible from both sides. The whole coin is antique-finished. Weighing in at a little over half an ounce (16.55 grams), this fine silver coin has a mintage of 999 pieces and comes presented in a floating frame . It is issued for the Republic of Cameroon. All in all, a really nice piece that we’d like to see some actual images of. The pictures do show a lot of promise, even if not of a great quality in themselves. A neat one to watch out for, we think.

41 mm variable

DENOMINATION 500 Francs CFA (Cameroon)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 16.55 grams
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Amethyst insert
BOX / COA Frame / Yes