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Roman Mythology

Charon and the River Styx - Myths

The River Styx is the entrance to the Underworld. The ferryman Charon transported the souls of the dead there. Admitttance to the Underworld depended on whether the person had received proper burial. In most cases a family member would shut the deceased's eyes while saying their name. The body would be washed and a coin placed underneath their tongue. This was to pay Charon who would let the soul get into his boat to cross the River Styx to the underworld. If a coin was not placed under the tongue, the dead would remain at the shores of the River Styx for 100 years.

Charon was always portrayed in paintings and pictures as an iratable and eerie old man with fiery red eyes. He was seen as the symbol of death, much like the grim reaper.

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