New year looks back, forwardThe month of January takes its name from a legendary king who was reputed to have been the first ruler of Italy. One of the original seven hills of Rome still bears the name he gave the small town, Janiculum, which lies by the river Tiber. He is connected to Saturn, who “fled” to Italy, driven from the heavens by his son Jupiter, and Janus brought him in as co-ruler of Italy.
By: Sharon Cox, The Jamestown Sun
The month of January takes its name from a legendary king who was reputed to have been the first ruler of Italy. One of the original seven hills of Rome still bears the name he gave the small town, Janiculum, which lies by the river Tiber. He is connected to Saturn, who “fled” to Italy, driven from the heavens by his son Jupiter, and Janus brought him in as co-ruler of Italy.
In ancient sculptures, Janus is always represented showing a double-headed figure looking in opposite directions, indicative of the double-gated entry to the Roman forum, which remains closed during peace and opened during war.
Janus later became the god of all beginnings. A four-headed Janus, or Janus “Quadrifons” ruled over the four seasons, so this Roman god of beginnings returns at the start of each quarter to usher in the gods of spring, summer and fall as well as winter. It’s no wonder we do our own looking back and forward as well.
Newspapers do the obligatory year in review and television broadcasts movie stars and political personalities who passed. Magazines and newspaper weeklies serve up lists of everything: best and worst, most beautiful and ugliest, cheapest and most expensive, the top this and the bottom that.
For us in Jamestown, we too do the list thing and the categorizing stuff in order to close out the “looking back” half of Janus, and then serve up a platter of “what to expect” in the looking forward half.
In a civilized world we humans seem to need the year in review in order to lay out the year ahead. That old saying about knowing your history so we don’t repeat it has some bearing here, but so too does noting what was good and what worked in order to repeat the positives in the future.
National, state and city mothers and fathers review the year and lay down plans for the next, while organizations, religious leaders, educational directors and law makers check lists and note needs. Those in the fine arts do the same, setting forth a plan of action for achieving goals in 2009. I am sure Taylor Barnes and the board of directors for the Jamestown Fine Arts Association have met to discuss plans for 2009. I know Jamestown College has scheduled its 2009 Performing Arts Series.
It starts Friday, January 16, with a performance by Chung Won Chung at 7:30 pm, in the auditorium of the Reiland Fine Arts Center. Season tickets are $45 and available through the college by keying in email@example.com . A child prodigy, Chung won competitions and played in the New Millennium Piano Festival and Banff International Keyboard Festival, among others.
If anyone has items to include in this column please send to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402.