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Ancient Roman Marble Head of Janus--The Two Faced God! Sicily, c. 200 BC-300 AD

CAD 38,115.58 or Best Offer 5d, 14-Day Returns

Seller: houghton-usa (1,301) 100%, Location: Sequim, Washington, Ships to: US, Europe, CA, JP, Item: 262721788280 ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS Artifacts, Antiques & Fine Collectibles Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Item: Ancient Roman Marble Janus Head Est. Date: 200 BC--300 AD Approximate Measurements: · Height: 10" · Width: 6" · Depth: 7.5" Material: Italian Marble Weight: 25 lbs. 14 oz. Find Location: Agrigento, Sicily in the late 19th Century Condition: This heavy marble head of Janus weighs almost 26 pounds and is currently unmounted and in “as found” (in situ) condition with nicks, chips, scratches, and scorch marks from an ancient fire. This head appears to have been separated from a larger marble statue. This head was clearly subjected to extreme heat from a fire that has left a blacken patina on the pure white Italian marble. One side of Janus is about 65% blackened by a fire that was clearly off to her left side. One can see that his broad nose blocked the scorching heat from reaching the right side of his face. The other Janus face shows some scorching around the neck and jaw line. Please see photos and bid accordingly. Estimated Auction Appraisal: $150,000 to $200,000. DETAILS No collection of antiquities is complete without a fine Greek/Roman marble head and what could be better than a very handsome Janiform, two-profile head of a man or god. Based on historical evidence, this dramatic yet fragmented marble head was likely made as part of a temple, shrine or mausoleum honoring a past battle or victory. It is likely that this head symbolizes an event of great importance, as life-size, marble statuary was quite expensive to have carved by a skilled sculptor. Janus sculptures were sometimes depicted to honor those who had passed through a symbolic gateway from the living to a future in the afterlife. The Roman God Janus is depicted with two slightly different faces. Both faces are clean shaven and depicted with elongated, almond shaped eyes that are closed and under high-arched eyebrows. His nose is broad and his thick lips are closed in a bow-shaped pattern. His facial pattern suggests a linage to the ancient Greek ancestors from Mycenae and Minoan civilizations. The 26-pound marble artifact shows clear evidence of having been broken out of a much larger sculpture—likely during some traumatic event—either a natural disaster like an earthquake or war and subjected to burning heat of a massive fire. Both sides of his face show small chips and scratches in the otherwise polished and smooth marble. While the Romans copied Greek ancient Greek sculpture, the Greeks—from 800 to 300 BCE—took their early inspiration from both Minoan as well as Egyptian and Near Eastern monumental art. This marble head of Janus shows distinctive almond-shaped eyes, bow-shaped lips, and curly, pulled-back, braided and parted hair that suggest it was crafted in Greece or Rome by a master sculptor sometime around 200 BC—200 A.D. The face was also highly polished in antiquity and his hair once perfectly framed his face. The framing of the face and lack of a bearded face is also a Roman convention of art that reached its zenith in the 2nd century A.D. The territories of ancient Greece, except for Sicily and southern Italy, contained abundant supplies of fine marble, with Pentelic and Parian marble the most highly prized, along with that from modern Prilep in Macedonia, and various sources in modern Turkey. THE ROMAN GOD JANUS This ancient Roman marble bust is that of the two-faced, Roman god Janus. Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions, and thereby of gates, doors, doorways, passages and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces and often is shown with a thick beard. Strictly a Roman God, the ancient Greeks had no equivalent to Janus. He was the divine guard of gateways, since he looks both forwards and backwards at the same time. The two images also reflect the transition of everlasting life of the soul as it travels from the world of the living to the everlasting world of the afterlife. Therefore, it would also have been suitable for use in a mausoleum or cemetery monument. Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict, and hence war and peace. The doors of his temple were open in time of war, and closed to mark the peace. As a god of transitions, he had functions pertaining to birth and to journeys and exchange, and in his association with Portunus, a similar harbor and gateway god, he was concerned with travelling, trading and shipping. Janus had a ubiquitous presence in religious ceremonies throughout the year, and was ritually invoked at the beginning of each one, regardless of the main deity honored on any particular occasion. It is likely that this two-face bust of Janus that weighs about 26 pounds was a part of a temple, shrine, or mausoleum that honored Janus about 2,000 years ago. Janus could also have been part of a frieze that decorated a doorway or gate that would have allowed viewers to see the marble bust from either way they approached the temple or mausoleum. This marble bust shows distinctive almond-shaped eyes, bow-shaped lips, and curly, pulled-back, braided and parted hair that suggest it was crafted by in Greece or Rome by a master sculptor sometime around 200 BC—300 AD. The face was also highly polished in antiquity and his hair once perfectly framed his face. The framing of the face is also a Roman convention of art in the 2nd century A.D. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this marble bust of Janus is the clear affirmation that the bust was subjected to extreme heat from a fire that has left a blacken patina on the pure white Italian marble. One side of Janus is about 65% blackened by a fire that was clearly off to her left side. One can see that his broad nose blocked the scorching heat from reaching the right side of his face. What type of huge fire caused this bust to be blackened and then destroyed? Was it caused by a massive earthquake on Sicily over 2,000 years ago? Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions were devastating in ancient times, as is dramatically shown in the 79 AD eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the total destruction of Pompeii and several other cities on the southern coast of Italy. And Mount Etna, on the east coast of Sicily, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. Or was the fire caused by an invading army during the Punic Wars that sacked the city of Agrigento, Sicily? Although the city remained neutral in the conflict between Athens and Syracuse, its democracy was overthrown when the city was sacked and burned to the ground by the Carthaginians in 406 BC. Were the black, scorch marks on this statue caused by that fire 2,400 years ago? We will likely never know. But is does appear that this bust was buried by rubble shortly after it was damaged in the fire. We know this because two millennia of weathering would have removed much of the blackened soot from the marble bust. Although the statue could be professionally restored by removing the blackened soot, many archeologists, art historians and experts believe this Janus bust is best left in its original condition. The two faces of Janus—one white and one black—certainly reflect the duality of the Roman God Janus. PROVENANCE This fascinating marble head of the Roman God Janus was found in a private field southwest of the ancient city of Agrigento, Sicily, by a Sicilian vegetable grower, Pasqual Sorrentino, who late came to America late 1800s. This marble head came from an area in southern Sicily that was strewn marble ruin of buildings from both ancient Greek and later Roman colonies. Vast temple ruins within the Valley of Temples, like the Temple of Concordia, Heracles, and many more remain for all to see of the once powerful and glorious power of this former city-state. Pasqual carried this treasure with him to New York City during the massive migrations in the late 19th or early 20th century. He settled in New York City and lived on Cherry Street in New York's lower East Side. The family then moved to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, near the southern shore of the region. The head was purchased at an estate auction in about 1998 from the great-great grandson of Pasqual, Domenic Sorrentino. For the past 17 years, this fabulous marble head has been in a private collection in Colorado until it was purchased at auction by Ancient Civilizations. NOTE: All items offered for sale by Ancient Civilizations are legal to buy/sell/own under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back. If requested, a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) will accompany this purchase. The Ancient City of Agrigento The ancient city of Agrigento, Sicily, was founded on a plateau overlooking the sea, with two nearby rivers, the Hypsas and the Akragas, and a ridge to the north offering a degree of natural fortification. Its establishment took place around 582-580 BC and is attributed to Greek colonists from Gela, who named it Akragas. Founded with the name of Akragas by the inhabitants of Gela in the 6th century BC., Agrigento quickly became an important center in Magna Grecia, as can be seen from the massive remains still visible near the town. Destroyed by Carthage in 406 BC., it rose again and about two centuries later was under Roman rule. After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was dominated by the Goths and then the Byzantines (6th century), under whose rule it sharply declined until, in 829, it was taken by the Arabs, who destroyed the town only to rebuild it on a higher site. The principal ancient monuments are the Doric temples in the Valle dei Templi, dating to the 6th and 5th centuries BC., dedicated to Hercules, Olympian Jupiter, Juno, Castor, Pollux and Demeter, as well as the temple called `the Concordia', still in an excellent state of preservation. The Tomb of Terone, the Oratory of Phalaris, and other small temples are also of great interest to modern tourists. Akragas grew rapidly, becoming one of the richest and most famous of the Greek colonies of Magna Graecia. It came to prominence under the 6th-century tyrants Phalaris and Theron, and became a democracy after the overthrow of Theron's son Thrasydaeus. At this point the city could have been as large as 100,000 - 200,000 people. Although the city remained neutral in the conflict between Athens and Syracuse, its democracy was overthrown when the city was sacked and burned to the ground by the Carthaginians in 406 BC. Akragas never fully recovered its former status, though it revived to some extent under Timoleon in the latter part of the 4th century. Please examine the photos taken outdoors carefully as they are part of the description. And please ask any questions before you buy. I offer a full Money-Back Guarantee if a recognized authority disputes the authenticity of this object. Note: Please ask any questions you may have before you bid! Thanks for Looking! Per e-Bay's rules, PayPal only please! FREE SHIPPING within the USA. Condition: This 26 lb. heavy marble head of Janus is currently unmounted and in “as found” (in situ) condition with nicks and scratches that are common on nearly all ancient Roman marbles. This head was clearly part of a larger sculpture that was subjected to extreme heat from a fire that has left a blacken patina on the pure white Italian marble. One side of Janus is about 65% blackened by a fire that was clearly off to her left side. One can see that his broad nose blocked the scorching heat from reaching the right side of his face. The other Janus face shows some scorching around the neck and jaw line. Please see photos as they are part of the description. Thank You for Looking!, Material: Marble

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