►Mythology: “Charon, Ancient Greek God of The Underworld”:
Charon (Χαρων) was the son of the primordial Gods Erebus (God of Darkness) and Nyx (Goddess of Light). The name Charon means ‘fierce brightness’ in Greek, and the Roman´s equivalent was Charus.
He was the ferryman of the dead, an underworld daimon (spirit) in the service of King Haides. He received the shades of the dead from Hermes who gathered them from the upper world and guided them to the shores of River Acheron.
The Acheron was also known as the River of Pain that flowed from the Styx and believed to carry pains intended for mortals back to earth. It also carried the good souls from the Underworld that were sent back to earth to be reincarnated as mortals.
Those who had not received due burial and were unable to pay his fee, would be left to wander the earthly side of the Acheron, haunting the upper world as ghosts.
Although Hermes might have taken the souls of the dead to the banks of the river for free, Charon demanded his fee.
From there Charon transported them in his skiff to a final resting place in Hades, the land of the dead, on the other side.
The fee for his service was a single obolos, a coin a silver coin worth a sixth of a drachma, which was placed in the mouth of a corpse at burial (It was known as Charon´s obol).
People who are unable to pay the fee are doomed to wander the shores of the river for a hundred years.
Since most Greeks, understandably, did not want to wander in the mists and marshes, they buried their dead with coins to pay the ferryman; this tradition is still retained in many parts of Greece.
Living people who want to visit Hades must also pay the ferryman.
Given the fact that they needed two trips, Charon charged significantly more, and several myths and stories indicate that visitors to Hades payed with a golden branch to cross the river and then return.
In the catabasis mytheme, some heroes – such as Heracles and Dionysus- travel to the Underworld and return, still alive, conveyed by the ferry of Charon.
Several Greek and Roman authors wrote about traveling to the Underworld, usually with the assistance of an experienced guide.
Dante, for example, wrote “The Inferno”, and “The Aeneid “by Virgil also features a trip to the Underworld.
►The imaginary Map of Hades (the Underworld):
►Charon´ s Family Tree:
►Nyx´s Children of the Underworld:
Nyx, the goddess of darkness, was the mother of many of the Gods related to death and darkness. Some of them were the result of her union with Erebus.
The family members and genealogy of Charon are detailed in the following family tree, providing an overview of the relationships between Charon and some of the principle Greek gods and goddesses of death and the Underworld.
►Genealogy of Charon: References:
♠Lyssa was the goddess of rage, fury and raging madness,
♠Moros was one of the primeval gods who was a son of Nyx was believed to be the mother of everything mysterious and anything that was inexplicable, such as death, disease, sleep, ghosts, dreams, witchcraft and enchantments. His father was Erebus, who reigned in a palace in the dark regions of the Underworld.
♠Momus was the Primordial Greek god of blame, censure and criticism.
♠Eris was the goddess of Discord, quarrels and feuds.
♠The Fates were three goddesses who were sisters.
Their names were: Klotho (Clotho), Lachesis and Atropos.
Klotho spinned the thread of life, Lachesis determined the length of the thread and Atropos cut the thread when the proper time came for death.
♠The Furies (Or Erynies) were three goddesses who avenged crimes against the natural order.
They were the three goddesses of vengeance: Tisiphone (avenger of murder), Megaera (the jealous) and Alecto (constant anger).
♠The Keres, or “Death Fates” were ‘scavengers who defiled the deads.
♠Hypnos was the god of Sleep who also brought nightmares to mortals.
♠The Oneiroi were Hypnos´ sons and were all gods of dreams: their names were Moorpheus, Icelus, and Phantasos (They were also cousins of Charon)
♠Oizys was the goddess of distress, anxiety and worry
♠Geras was the god of loathsome Old Age.
♠Epiphron was the daimon, titan, or god of prudence, shrewdness, thoughtfulness, sagacity, leadership, and carefulness
♠Nemesis was the avenging goddess of Divine Retribution.
♠Hecate was the goddess of magic, witchcraft, the night, moon and ghosts.
♠Thanatos was the God of Death, the hard-hearted, pitiless, enemy of mankind
♠Aether was the Protogenos (first-born elemental god) of the bright, glowing upper air of heaven – the substance of light
♠Hemera was the Protogenos (primeval goddess) of the day.
“As Hades ruled the dead, he forbade any to leave and if anyone attempted to breakout or someone tried to steal one of the dead back, he threatened them. Heroes Herakles, Odysseus, Aeneas and Theseus were the only ones who entered the underworld and managed to escape”… Read More.
►Slideshare: “Paintings based on Charon´s Myth”: