I am not sure whether to believe in Greek mythology or not, but I certainly don't want to spend my afterlife as a ghost, so I'm thinking of keeping a silver coin to pay that ol' Charon.

But what kind of silver coin would he demand? Would any silver coin do, or anything in particular?


1 Answer 1


A danake/obol it seems to be

Suidas s.v. Akherousia :
"Akherousia (Acherusia) : A lake in Haides, which the dying cross over, giving to the ferryman [Kharon (Charon)] the coin which is called a danake." (emphasis mine)


Callimachus, Hecale Fragment 31 (from Etymologicum Graecum s.v. Danakes) :
"Danakes (Danaces) : a barbarous coin more than an obol, which used to be put in the mouth of the dead."

Danake also can mean the silver coin of the Persian empire, so this could be the danake of the sources.


Other choice, the Greek Obol.

Aristophanes, Frogs 180 ff (trans. O'Neill) (Greek comedy C5th to 4th B.C.) :
Herakles : An ancient mariner [Kharon (Charon)] will row you over in a wee boat, so big. The fare's two obols.
Dionysos : Fie! The power two obols have, the whole world through! How came they thither!


There are some websites that may imply any old silver coin, but I could find any sources on that.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.