|Charon's obol is a term for the coin placed in the mouth of the dead before burial. Literary sources specify the coin as an obol, and explain it as a payment or bribe for Charon, the ferryman who conveyed souls across the river that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. Archaeological examples of these coins, of various denominations in practice, have been called "the most famous grave goods from antiquity."|
Charon and Psyche (1883)
|In Greek mythology, Charon is the ferryman of Hades who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. Those who could not pay the fee, or those whose bodies were left unburied, had to wander the shores for one hundred years.|
Charon is depicted frequently in the art of ancient Greece, usually holding his ferryman's pole in his right hand and using his left hand to receive the dead.