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<   No. 1139   2006-03-10   >

Comic #1139

1 {scene: The bank of the river Acheron. A skeletal figure in a cape stands in a boat by the shore, leaning on a bargepole.}
1 Marcus: Who are you?
1 Charon: Charon.
2 Julius: Charon?
2 Charon: {condescendingly} The Ferryman...
3 Julius: Er...
3 Charon: {rolling eyes} I take the souls of the dead across the river Acheron to the Underworld...
4 Marcus: Erm. Aren't you Greek?
4 Charon: Look, you steal the other Greek gods, you get me.

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Charon is indeed the ferryman of Greek mythology, who transports the departed across the river Acheron to Hades. Nowadays many people think that Charon ferried souls across the river Styx, but according to most contemporary accounts, and also Dante's Inferno, it was Acheron.

Like all good things the Greeks had, the Romans adopted him as one of their own.

Also like all good things the Greeks had, Charon has been integrated into Dungeons & Dragons, where he is a type of being known as an altroloth, lord of the yugoloths. The D&D version plies the river Styx, mangling the myth in the finest traditions of this venerable game.

2015-06-30 Rerun commentary: And in a trend we can only hope continues to extend to all good things the Greeks had, there's also a dinosaur named after Charon.

Charon is an example of a psychopomp, which is a much cooler thing than it sounds like.

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Last Modified: Tuesday, 30 June 2015; 03:11:11 PST.
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