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Charon took the newly dead people across the river Acheron or Styx to the Greek underworld, if they paid him three obolus (a Greek silver coin). Because of this, people in Ancient Greece were always buried with a coin under their tongue and one on each eye to pay Charon. Those who could not pay him had to wander the banks of the Acheron until they found a pauper's entrance to Hades.
The largest moon of the planet Pluto is named Charon after this mythological person.