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Janus was
the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology,
and presided over passages, doors, gates and endings, as well as in
transitional periods such as from war to peace. He was usually depicted as
having two faces looking at opposite ways, one towards the past and the other
towards the future. There was no equivalent of Janus in
Greek mythology.
As a god
of beginnings and transitions both in literal and abstract ways, he was also
responsible for motion, changes, and time. He was present in the beginning of
the world, guarding the gates of Heaven, and he also presided over the
 of religion, life, and even the
gods. He was probably considered the most important Roman god,
and his name was the first to be mentioned in prayers, regardless of which god
the worshipper wanted to pray to.
In one
of the myths in
which Janus played
an important role, Romulus,
one of the founders of Rome, kidnapped the Sabine women, helped by his
men. Janus saved
the women by creating a volcanic hot spring which erupted and buried the
kidnappers in the mixture of boiling water and volcanic ash.

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