Description:This rare silver denarius coin was minted in Rome by moneyer C. Fonteius in 114 – 113 BC. The obverse side of this Roman Republic coin depicts the Gemini twins Castor and Pollux in Janiform, representing the Roman god Janus. The reverse side shows a Roman galley with three rowers and a gubernator (helmsman) at the stern with the legend ROMA below.
In ancient Roman religion, Janus was the god of gates, doorways, time, transitions, beginnings and endings. His most prominent remnants in modern culture are his namesakes: the month of January, which begins the new year and the janitor, who is a caretaker of doors and halls. Janus is most often shown as having two faces or heads, looking in opposite directions. He represented time and had the wisdom of surveying both the past and the future simultaneously. Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as at marriages, births and deaths.
Castor and Pollux were first worshipped by the Greeks as the Dioscuri and by the 5th century BC, they became revered by the Romans. The Dioscuri were devoted brothers and regarded as helpers of mankind particularly travelers and sailors. They were also legendary warriors and the Romans believed the twins aided them on the battlefield. According to legend, at the Battle of Lake Regillus in 495 BC, the twins fought at the head of the Roman army and led the Romans to victory. In gratitude, the Temple of Castor and Pollux was constructed in the Roman Forum.