This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Sunday Rest. Word Not To Use Today: janus.

Janus, eh? What a god. True, he had eyes in the back of his head, but there's nothing wrong with that.

Actually, he had a nose in the back of his head, as well - which is, I must admit, somewhat more disturbing.

Indeed, he had an extra mouth, too. History (or what Ovid and Virgil and all those Roman bods called history) does not tell us if Janus ever wooed nymphs by singing duets with himself, taking both tenor and bass parts, but I would like to think so.
Even if he didn't, the god Janus was kind enough to look after gateways - both the real ones, and also the invisible ones such as those between the old and new years.
Janus had a place or worship in Rome, where by custom the door was only closed when Rome was at peace. I think that was, about two or three times over the hundreds of years of the life of the Roman Empire.
Ah well.
Poor Janus, though. Not only has he become a proverb for being two-faced, which is not something you'd wish to say about anyone, but his name sounds harsh and grasping. And also like a non-friendly blue-tinged alien.
It's not always that great, you know, being a god.
Word Not To Use Today: janus. No one really knows where Janus' name comes from. It might be something to do with chaos, it might be something to do with Apollo and Diana, or it might be something to do with the Latin word ire, to go, and before that from the Sanscrit word yana, which is to do with going or passing through. 

May all The Word Den's friends pass
joyfully from the Old Year to the New,
and have a
happy, healthy, and prosperous 2012.

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