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Charon rows his boat on a lekythos, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Charon, is the ferryman of the dead in Greek mythology. Hermes brings the souls of those who have died to him, and Charon ferries them across the river Acheron. He only accepts the dead who are buried or burned with the proper rites, and that pay him for their passage. For this reason the Greeks always placed a coin under the tongue of the deceased.

Those who cannot afford the passage, or are not admitted by Charon, are doomed to wander on the banks of the Styx for a hundred years. Charon is the son of Erebus and Nyx. He is depicted as an sulky old man, or as a winged demon carrying a double hammer. He is similar to the Etruscan (Charun).

"Charon (mythology)," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000
http://encarta.msn.com © 1997-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.



Vase image of Charon

Painting of Charon in his boat with wings

Aeneas with the Sybil and Charon painting by Giuseppe Maria Crespi, 1700-05, Art History Museum, Vienna

Charon Crossing the Styx: Joachim Patenier (c. 1480-1524)


Texts that mention Charon on the Perseus website


B. Darrington, St. Paul's School, January 2001