Where is the River Styx?



THE religious belief of the Greeks was not exalted. They regarded their gods simply as men like themselves, possessed of all their evil passions, only much bigger and stronger than they and exempted from the fear of death. To the Greek, death was a horror. He had a vague idea that the souls of men persisted after death, but their eternity was one of tragedy. The souls dwelt in a dark, chill region called Hades, and there they spent their time weeping, and yearning for the bright, sunshiny earth they had left behind.

The spirits or "shades" of those who died were gathered from all lands by one of the gods, the swift-footed Mercury, known by his symbol, the staff of life with two twining serpents. Mercury guided all his wailing and despairing company to the shore of the black river Styx which marked the boundary between Earth and Hades. Here the dead were ferried across in the boat of Charon, the ancient and mysterious ferryman. He spoke no word to any of his passengers, nor did any one ever speak to him; the silence of death enveloped all from the moment they entered his boat.

It was this tragic conception of the dreary land of death which made the Greek cling so intensely to all the joys of life.






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Read about Where is the River Styx? in the The Story of the Greatest Nations and the Worlds Famous Events Vol 1

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