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Charon Statue - By Derek Frost



6" x 5" x 10 1/2" Cold Cast Bronze

By Artist David Frost

KHARON (Charon) was the Ferryman of the Dead, an underworld daimon (spirit) in the service of King Haides. Hermes Psykhopompos (Guide of the Dead) gathered the shades of the dead from the upper world and led them down to the shores of the Akherousian (Acherusian) mere in the underworld where Kharon transported them across the waters to Haides in his skiff. His fee was a single obolos coin which was placed in the mouth of a corpse upon burial. Those who had not received proper burial were unable to pay the fee and were left to wander the earthly side of the Akheron (Acheron), haunting the world as ghosts.

Kharon was depicted in ancient Greek art as an ugly, bearded man with a crooked nose, wearing a conical hat and tunic. He was shown standing in his skiff holding a pole, about to receive a shade from Hermes Psykhopompos (Psychopomp).

The Etruscans of central Italy identified him with one of their own underworld daimones who was named Charun after the Greek figure. He was depicted as a more repulsive creature with blue-grey skin, a tusked mouth, hooked nose and sometimes serpent-draped arms. His attribute was a large, double-headed mallet.