Saturday, 26 January 2008

Charon


The estimable blogger Charon QC turned my mind to the original Charon, the ferryman who took the dead across the River Styx (otherwise Acheron) to Hades. Charon seems to have been the original grumpy old man and only transported the dead if they had the fare - a coin called an obolus which was put in the mouths of the dead. Not dispatching the dead with the coin was distinctly unsporting on the part of the living as the fareless dead were fated to wander the shore of the Styx for one hundred years, which sounds a bit of a bore.
Charon makes Blakey in my 2 January post seem like light relief by comparison. He is variously portrayed as - in his milder form - straggly bearded, scrawny and ugly and in his more extreme form as demonic, featuring blue-grey skin, a tusked mouth, hooked nose and sometimes serpent-draped arms. He apparently was distinctly lacking in the good manners department and was prone to insulting the dead. St Peter at the pearly gates he aint. Charon worked with Hermes, who was apparently a sort of delivery boy for the dead. The picture is Greek C5 BC and shows Charon taking a delivery from Hermes. All in all, being dead sounds no fun at all in ancient Greece and Hades would appear to have been a bit of a dump where the dead wandered around glumly doing nothing much. A bit like Wolverhampton really (once described to me as 'practice for hell')...

4 comments:

Charon QC said...

Pretty accurate desription of my ancestor... I have the same genes!

Excellent stuff... I did, of course, choose "Charon" as a pseuodynm... rather liked the idea of ferrying lawyers to hell and into the arms of Hades!

advocatus diaboli said...

Non est ad astra mollis e terris via... AD :-)

the rabbit having trouble doing this using blogger said...

Charon QC said...

rather liked the idea of ferrying lawyers to hell and into the arms of Hades!

thought that was the Legal Services Commission's job

advocatus diaboli said...
Non est ad astra mollis e terris via... AD :-)

Ohhhh!!! Seneca - you lil show off!

For the latinly challenged - that would be 'there is no easy way from the earth to the stars'

Law Minx said...

I do sincerely hope, Charon, that you did not inherit the blue-grey skin,tusked mouth and hooked nose of your famous ancestor, and that should you ever suffer the misfortune to exhibit such characteristics the inccident will be of but a transient nature, and largely due to the quality of the Rioja imbued that night(presently going for the princely sum of £2.50 for two litres in an OddBins situated perilously close to the Local Seat of Learning....)