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  4. Temple of Janus

Temple of Janus, Autun

Photo © Knarf Elleb. View all images in our Temple of Janus Photo Gallery.
Photo © Stefan de Vries.

Across the River Arroux to the north of Autun are the substantial ruins of the Temple of Janus. Standing an impressive 24m (79 ft) high, it was probably part of the sanctuary of a Gallic deity that was adapted to Roman religion.


This temple has traditionally been believed to be dedicated to Janus, but this is not certain. Regardless, the Roman temple probably replaced a wooden temple to a Gallic deity that already stood on the site.

The Roman god Janus presided over war, gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, and endings. The month of January and the caretaker of doors and halls, a janitor, are both named for him.

Janus is usually depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions - one bearded and one clean-shaven - and holding a key. The two faces are believe to represent the sun and moon.

For the ancient Romans, Janus symbolized change and transitions such as the progression of future to past, of one condition to another, of one vision to another, the growing up of young people, and of one universe to another. He also represented time because he could see into the past with one face and into the future with the other.

Thus Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as marriages, births and other beginnings. He was representative of the middle ground between barbarity and civilization, rural country and urban cities, and youth and adulthood.

What to See

The Temple de Janus in Autun stands picturesquely in a grassy field across the river from town. The two brick walls that remain are part of the square cella, or central area of the temple where the god dwelled. Around the cella was a gallery, which supported a roof; the holes for the beams can be seen in the ruins.

Quick Facts on the Temple of Janus

Site Information
Names:Janus Temple; Temple de Janus; Temple of Janus; Temple of Janus, Autun
Faiths:Ancient Roman
Dates:1st C
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Autun, France
Coordinates:46.961251° N, 4.288552° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of the Temple of Janus

Below is a location map and aerial view of the Temple of Janus. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.


  1. Personal visit (June 4, 2008).
  2. The Rough Guide to France 9 (April 2005), 617.
  3. Janus (mythology) - Wikipedia
  4. Temple de Janus - Structurae

More Information

Article Info

Title:Temple of Janus, Autun
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:03/29/2010
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/france/autun-temple-of-janus/france/autun">Temple of Janus, Autun</a>