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Ferryman of the Dead

Charon was the old ferryman who brought the dead across the river Acheron to Hades. He was the son of Erebus and Nyx usually depicted as an old (sometimes skeletal) man. The way his whole deal worked goes like this. Hermes would bring the souls of the dead to Charon. Charon would then open his hand to the dead requiring the obol (a coin) that is given to all those who received a proper burial or burning. Normally this coin was placed in the mouth of the dead. Those souls who do not have the coin are made to roam around the river Cocytus for most of their afterlife and are not granted passage to Hades. The living were also allowed visiting passage to Hades if they brought to Charon golden bough.

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