Deity's of Death (Charon, Angel of Death, Yama) figure prominently in the belief structure of many cultures. Charon, of Greek mythology, is no exception. Featured in many stories of the time, and more broadly across Western Culture, Charon appears in paintings and murals across time.
Oft found on Attic Funerary vases of the 5th and 4th century BC, Charon is most commonly depicted as a boat oarsman who transports the dead across the river of the dead for payment of a gold coin. For this reason, many Greeks were buried with a gold coin in their mouth for payment of passage.
A famous poem, attributed to the Roman Poet Virgil, describes Charon manning his skiff during the descent of Aeneas to the underworld.
There Chairon stands, who rules the dreary coast -
A sordid god: down from his hairy chin
A length of beard descends, uncombed, unclean;
His eyes, like hollow furnaces on fire;
A girdle, foul with grease, binds his obscene attire