Charun is the Etruscan spirit of death. He is not the ferryman of classical Greek mythology but a psychopomp, a spirit who comes to collect souls and escort them to the afterlife. Some psychopomps wait until the person has died. They are purely escorts. Others actual deliver the coup de grace. Charun’s attributes are potentially instruments of violence, and so we can surmise that he takes an active role in the death process. He resembles modern Charos very much.

Charon, Charun, and Charos are all presumably the very same spirit.




He may appear as an old man with a beard, but he sometimes appears youthful. Charun has a hooked nose, snake-like hair, and the ears of a wolf. His skin is greenish or greyish in hue. Sometimes he has wings.


Charun appears frequently on vases, urns, and sarcophagi. He is usually depicted with the door to the netherworld behind him.


Axe, mallet, sword


  • Charon;
  • Charos


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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