The Leicester Arch and the Temple of Janus
Sir Edwin Lutyens was one of the foremost English architects of his day and was invited in 1919 to design a war memorial for the city of Leicester. For Lutyens the architectural challenge was to express in stone the profound sense of loss the nation and the city felt, in a poetic architectural expression of the fundamental truths of life and death while at the same time remaining fundamentally pantheist. To this end he turned to antiquity and a little known Roman temple, the temple of Janus in Rome, which had embodied in its design very particular solar alignments related to the summer solstices. Just as the priests of Janus built solar alignments into their temple so Lutyens gave a secret solar alignment to his war memorial. This article describes the background to the temple of Janus and how it influenced Lutyens’s design for the Leicester Arch of Remembrance.
An article written for the magazine, Leicestershire and Rutland Life, published in December 2007.
Citation : Cawthorne, D. (2007) The Leicester Arch and the Temple of Janus. Leicestershire and Rutland Life, December 2007, pp.16-17
Research Group : Digital Building Heritage Group
Peer Reviewed : No