Charon Picture


CHARON (Charôn), a son of Erebos, the aged and dirty ferryman in the lower world, who conveyed in his boat the shades of the dead--though only of those whose bodies were buried--across the rivers of the lower world. (Virg. Aen. vi. 295, &c.; Senec. Herc. fur. 764.) For this service he was paid by each shade with an obolus or danace, which coin was placed in the mouth of every dead body previous to its burial. This notion of Charon seems to be of late origin, for it does not occur in any of the early poets of Greece. (Paus. x. 28. § 1; Juven. iii. 267; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1666.) Charon was represented in the Lesche of Delphi by Polygnotus.

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
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