Roberta Writes – Divine Comedy: Inferno, Canto 5

The Divine Comedy (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions) by Dante, Gustave  Dore, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®
This is the hardcover collectible edition I covet.

My blogging friend Rebecca Budd is currently participating in a #KaramazovReadalong, you can read about it here:

The reading group are reading one chapter a day of this book and it inspired me to tackle Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri in the same manner.

Dante and Virgil descend into the Second Circle of Hell and the Reader starts to get an idea of what Hell is all about.

They see the monster, Minos, standing in front of a seemingly endless line of sinners and assigning them their eternal punishment. The sinners confess their sins and Minos then wraps his tail around himself a certain number of times thereby indicating the circle to which they must go. Minos says that Dante may not enter as he is a living soul, but Virgil explains the circumstances and they are allowed to pass into a dark place where torrential rains fall continuously and gales of wind tear through the air.

The souls in this Second Circle of Hell are guilt of being lustful and committing sins of the flesh. In Hell they are punished by being endlessly blown about by stormy winds.

Virgil identifies the souls of Helen of Troy and Cleopatra among those swirling past.

Dante calls out to the souls and he is answered by a lady called Francesca. She tells Dante how, in life, she was married to an elderly deformed man. She falls in love with her husband’s younger brother, Paolo da Rimini. One day while they are sitting reading the story of King Arthur, they read a particularly romantic piece and cannot resist kissing. The book is forgotten and “We read no more that day.”

Dante is again overwhelmed with pity and he faints.

It is quite interesting that some of the adulterers are also suicides and yet they are not sent to the circle deeper in Hell that is reserved for suicides. The reason for this is that in Dante’s description of Hell, a person is judged by the standards of the time period during which he/she lived. Suicide wasn’t considered a sin during classical times but adultery was. Those adulterers from this time who committed suicide are condemned for their adultery only.

The Inferno, Canto 5 - Gustave Dore
bPicture credit:

Here is a quote from Canto 5:

“The next is she who killed herself through love,

and to Sichaeus’ ashes broke her faith;

the lustful Cleopatra follows her.

See Helen, for whose sake so long a time

of guilt rolled by, and great Achilles see,

who fought with love when at the end of life.

Paris and Tristan see;” and then he showed me,

and pointed out by name, a thousand shades

and more, whom love had from our life cut off.

When I had heard my Leader speak the names

of ladies and their knights of olden times,

pity o’ercame me, and I almost swooned.”

Roberta Writes – Thursday Doors: Maropeng Visitors Centre

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

During our recent trip to Magaliesburg, we visited The Cradle of Mankind which includes Sterkfontein Caves and The Maropeng Visitor Centre.

I wrote about our trip to the Sterkfontein Caves here:

Later that afternoon, we visited Maropeng. This is what the website says:

“The Maropeng Visitor Centre is an award-winning, world-class exhibition, focusing on the development of humans and our ancestors over the past few million years.

Take a journey through time, starting with the formation of the planet and moving all the way through the evolutionary processes that culminated in the world as we know it today.

See fossils, learn about how humankind was born, view stone tools that are up to one million years old, and much more. This self-guided, interactive tour allows you to take all the time you need to ponder humanity’s fascinating origin story.” Read more here:

Picture taken from the restaurant and visitors shop area. These were both closed due to Covid.
My boys and I outside the entrance.

The tour starts with an underground boat trip through the four elements, Earth, Water, Fire, and Wind.

The main reason for our visit to Maropeng was to see the artifacts of Lucy.

“Lucy” is the nickname of one of the most well-known human ancestor fossils. The partial skeleton of Lucy was discovered in November 1974  Dr. Donald Johanson and his graduate student, Tom Gray, while walking across 3.2 million year old sediments at the site of Hadar, Ethiopia. You can read more about Lucy here:

The other big attraction for me were the Little Foot artifacts.

“Little Foot”, an extraordinary fossilised skeleton of an early form of Australopithecus, is 3.67-million years old, making it the oldest known hominid from the Cradle of Humankind. The finding of Little Foot, deep inside a Sterkfontein cavern, was one of the most remarkable discoveries ever made in the field of palaeoanthropology. You can read the story of poor Little Foot here:

Last but not least, I enjoyed this display of the evolution of mankind:

If you are interested in ancient history, you should have a look at Jacqui Murray’s site and books here:

Jacqui Murray has two series about ancient man. The first is the Dawn of Humanity series and the second is the Crossroads series. You can find out more about Jacqui’s books here:

Born in a Treacherous Time (Dawn of Humanity Book 1) Kindle Edition

If you’d like to join in Thursday Doors, you can do so here:

Roberta Writes – WordCrafter Where Spirits Linger Book Blog Tour featuring Christa Planko

Welcome to my stop on the WordCrafter Where Spirits Linger Book Blog tour. You can find the other posts to date here:

Day 1: hosted by Kaye Lynne Booth

Day 2: hosted by Miriam Hurdle

Day 3: Hosted by Patty Fletcher

Today I am delighted to feature Christa Planko, a co-contributor to the WordCrafter Where Spirits Linger Book Blog tour and the winning contributor with her short story, Olde Tyme Village.

Who is Christa Planko, tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a person who has always loved to write and edit. If you had asked me in grade school what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would have told you then that I wanted to become a writer. I was fortunate to fulfill that dream by becoming a professional copywriter. In my spare time, I also dabble in creative writing.

You seem to be drawn to flash fiction – what attracts you to this form of writing?

My career is in medical communications where the audience consists of busy healthcare professionals. For them, time is of the essence, so writing must be brief, concise, and to the point. Keeping up my practice of word economy and having a busy schedule myself, I naturally gravitate toward shorter forms of writing. Flash fiction stories and short forms of poetry, like haiku and tanka, have become my favorite creative outlets. It’s fun to challenge yourself to tell a story or create a mood within a limited word count.

Your book, CatchUp is written under the name Christa Plunkett. Is that a pen name? Do you find it beneficial to use to different names for your writing?

Yes, Christa Plunkett was a pen name I created when I first started publishing stories. I thought it was what every author was supposed to do and wanted to choose a pen name that sounded close to my actual surname. I visited Ireland several years ago and fell in love with the country and its culture. Not having a strand of Irish DNA to boast of, I found the name “Plunkett,” which has Irish roots and also sounds similar to my own last name. It gave me an opportunity to become Irish in my creative world!

When first seeking to have my creative work published, I wasn’t sure what genre my writing would fall under. So, it was convenient to use a pen name to start. I think I’m still figuring out my voice and what genre I enjoy most.

Tell us about your book, Catch Up. What inspired you to write it? Who is your target market with this book?

Catch Up is a middle-grade novella inspired by the type of character I wished existed when I was thirteen years old. I remember reading middle-grade romance novels from the school library that made me feel bad about myself. The heroines were always beautiful and popular. Their biggest dilemmas were: “Which offer should I accept for my prom date?” Or, “Will I become the next Prom Queen?” What about the ordinary girl next door who was awkward and had issues with body image? That type of girl still has teenage crushes and desires to go to the school dance, but may also have to contend with bullies and taking school work seriously. I think many 13-year-old girls could relate more to a character like that—like Cassie in Catch Up. With her, I didn’t want to go down the dramatic route and show how the repercussions could lead to emotional pain and suicide. I also didn’t want her to overcome the bullies by reporting them at school and dealing with revenge while never learning the biggest lesson: self-love and respect. So, instead, I kept the story light-hearted and humorous. There are moments when you can feel the painful awkwardness Cassie is experiencing, yet she is smart. She understands the psychology that makes the bullies tick, but she is still affected. With a little help from a stylish friend who shows her how to bring out her own natural beauty, Cassie eventually comes to stand on her own two feet and find her confidence. That’s what girls need to see. If they’re being bullied, the problem isn’t them—it’s what’s going on inside the bully’s own psyche. It’s still tough to overcome, but once you get on top of it, you can achieve anything.

Catch Up was intended to be part of a trilogy with two more books I outlined to follow: Break Up and Make Up.  Who knows…I may pick that back up again some day.

What is next for Christa Planko? What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on a romance novel geared toward an adult audience. It takes place in an advertising agency where the dynamic has traditionally been male dominated—think Mad Men. A successful copywriter meets his match who is a promising young female writer. He must work with her while up against office politics, gender politics, and his own career pursuits conflicting with love interest. I’m pretty far along with it and am excited to finish and get it published.

How do you market your writing? Do you use social media?

Oddly enough, I’ve never put much effort into really marketing my writing. Catch Up was the first book I’d ever written for which I established an author page and blog. I didn’t really push sales too much or use social media. This is something I’m looking to get more adept at and leverage more in the days ahead. I’ve created a new site listing all of my published work and it’s a work in progress—as am I as a commercial writer.

About Christa Planko

Christa Planko, MA

Christa is a professional writer with a passion for creative expression. She has had her poetry and short stories featured in several publications, including River Poets Journal, Wingless Dreamer, Tanka and Haiku Journals, Rune Bear, Jitter Press, and Every Day Fiction. When she’s not writing, she is likely bicycling, kayaking, or dancing. She currently resides in South Jersey with her 4 feline muses.

The contributors to Where Spirits Linger anthology

Purchase Where Spirits Linger



Book your WordCrafter Blog Tour here:

Dark Origins – London Bridge is Falling Down

I am over at Writing to be Read with this months Dark Origins post. London Bridge is Falling Down, what is the origin of this nursery rhyme? Immurement? Vikings? Or the fires that impacted London in the 17th century? Thanks for hosting me, Kaye Lynne Booth.

Writing to be Read

Picture credit:

I grew up playing a children’s game to the tune and lyrics of London Bridge is Falling Down. The game I played was similar to the actions for Oranges and Lemons which involves two players holding hands and making an arch with their arms for a single file line of players to walk under. At the end of the song the arch is lowered to ‘catch’ a player.

There are two dark hypothesis for the origins of this nursery rhyme.

The first hypothesis is that the rhyme relates to the supposed destruction of London Bridge in 1014 by the Olaf II Haraldsson, later known as Saint Olaf, who was the King of Norway from 1015 to 1028.

This supposition is derived from the translation of the Norse saga, the Heimskringla, by Samuel Laing in 1844 which includes a verse which is reminiscent of the common version of…

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“Where Spirits Linger” Book Blog Tour

Thank you to poet and children’s author, Miriam Hurdle for hosting my stop on the Where Spirits Linger Book Blog Tour. Miriam has a lovely blog so do take a look around while you are there.

The Showers of Blessings

The 2021 WordCrafterParanormal Anthology, Where Spirits Linger, was released today – September 20, 2021!

Where Spirits LingerAuthorswith Kaye Lynne Booth, editor

“I hope you will stay with us and follow thetour to each blog stop to learn more about the stories within to picque your interest. Of course, I hope you buy the book, but each comment you make along the way earns an entry into a random drawing for a free digital copy of Where Spirits Linger, so you could be our next lucky winner!” – Kayne Lynne Booth

I’m excited to host the tour on Day 2 featuring Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s piece “Listen to Instructions.”

I’ll let Roberta tell you about the process she went through to write her story. Here’s Roberta:

~ ~ ~

The Location of “Listen to Instructions”

This year the WordCrafter short story challenge required a story…

View original post 1,342 more words

Roberta Writes : Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto 4

Dantes Divine Comedy (Hardcover): Dante Alighieri

My blogging friend Rebecca Budd is currently participating in a #KaramazovReadalong, you can read about it here:

The reading group are reading one chapter a day of this book and it inspired me to tackle Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri in the same manner.

For me, Canto 4 was a sad section of this book. Dante wakes to a loud noise that sounds like thunder. He is rested, after a deep sleep, and finds himself on the opposite bank of the River Acheron and at the top of a mountain that overlooks a cloudy valley. Terrible cries come from the valley and Dante is wary when a deathly pale Virgil asks him to follow him down the mountain. Virgil explains that he feels pity and not fear.

The two poets enter the first circle of Hell – Limbo. This is the part of Hell were pagans who were good and virtuous people reside. I found this sad because it seems unjust that good people should have to remain in Limbo for all eternity just because they were born before the coming of Jesus and were, therefore, Pagans. Limbo is also home to the shades [souls] of children who died without being baptised. This also seems unfair to me as both situations were out of the shades control. This section of Divine Comedy highlights the traditional Catholic belief that no matter how good or virtuous a person is, if they haven’t had faith in Christ, they cannot be saved or redeemed.

Dante asks Virgil if anyone has ever been granted access to Heaven from Limbo. Virgil explains that Christ descended into Hell after his crucifixion to save those unjustly condemned there. This is know as the Harrowing of Hell in accordance with Christian tradition.

As the pair pass through a wood in Limbo, Dante sees a fire ahead and notes that famous people from the past rest there. Virgil explains that their fame on Earth has earned these shades a separate place from the other spirits. Dante meets the shades of Homer, Horace, Ovid, and Lucan and they salute Dante and tell him they regard him as one of their group. I thought this was quite interesting and demonstrated Dante’s confidence in his poetry which he considers as good as these classical poets.

The group moves on until they come to a castle with seven walls surrounded by a small rivulet. Dante and Virgil continue across the stream and through the gates alone. In the green meadow, Dante recognises figures of authority including the philosophers, Socrates, Plato, Cicero, Seneca, and Aristotle.

Dante comes to understand that Limbo allows the shades to reside with human wisdom, but without the light of God.

File:Inferno Canto 4 unbaptised lines 38-39.jpg
Picture credit:
Circle 1 image
Picture credit:

Extract from Canto 4

“To me then my good Teacher: “Dost not ask

what spirits these are whom thou seest here?

Now I would have thee know, ere thou go further,

that these sinned not; and though they merits have,

’t is not enough, for they did not have baptism,

the gateway of the creed believed by thee;

and if before Christianity they lived,

they did not with due worship honor God;

and one of such as these am I myself.

For such defects, and for no other guilt,

we ’re lost, and only hurt to this extent,

that, in desire, we live deprived of hope.””

Welcome to Day 6 of Breakfield and Burkey’s “SHORT STORIES” Blog Tour! @EnigmaSeries @4WillsPub @4WP11 @RRBC_Org #RRBC #4WillsPub


(7) ebook copies of“HOT CHOCOLATE”

Please leave the authors a comment anywhere along the tour for your chance to win one of these awesome prizes.

Nowhere but Up

Mathias, Dutch, and Halvorson market their cryptocurrency programs in economically challenged countries in The Enigma Source. Desperate governments try to avoid the horrific outcomes of their economic free fall. Mathias and the team discover robust competition in their bid to gain favor with leadership in Venezuela. Mathias, a polished huckster, decides there is only one way to fight another day—survive.

Our characters rise to the challenges. Technologist and Blockchain programmer Dr. Halvorson uses the programs he created to orchestrate an escape from the Venezuelan Police. Mathias’s favorite helicopter transport becomes a third-world mini-van with a top speed of 35 kilometers an hour, but that is only downhill. Their plans of wealth and power are now on life support, but Mathias can only think of revenge. The exit strategy discussed in The Enigma Source is key to this short story. YouTube link:

The rest of their story was unnecessary to The Enigma Source. Yet readers and fans wanted to know what happened next. We had no intention of including these cyber crooks in another book in the series and still don’t. However, we found that there were unanswered questions for this trio of misfits who hit rock bottom. Nowhere but Up is their story. You decide if they chose well.

About the short story

Mathias and Halvorson are trudging toward the Brazilian border to escape the Venezuelan secret police who want to kill them.

Once they enjoyed the first-class service, today they wallow in third-world transport and lifestyle. Escape holds the promise of shearing more sheep to line their pockets.

Plans to cross the border get completely derailed as Mathias and Halvorson run into absolutely the last person they expected. Their hotly contested vendetta devolves into gunfire. The colossal distraction gives the three escapees time to flee. A non-negotiable bargain between the trio results in a risk-filled escape from Venezuela.

The hazardous journey takes this trio to a new opportunity. Mathias is a self-proclaimed leader with plans to get back on top. His methods are unorthodox yet highly effective.

Available on Amazon   We look forward to your review and comments on our short stories.

About Breakfield and Burkey

Rox Burkey and Charles Breakfield are co-authors for the Enigma Series. Our characters haunt us, demanding more of their stories get written. It began with a few heroes, then expanded to those with self-serving motives. We instigated this tour to provide insight and motivating factors on the shorts. We consider these fun standalone compliments to the series novels. Enjoy this tour, and please provide feedback.

Breakfield is a technology expert specifically in security, networking, voice, and anything digital. He enjoys writing, studying World War II his­tory, travel, and cultural exchanges. Charles is also a fan of wine tastings, wine-making, Harley riding, cooking extravaganzas, and woodworking.

Burkey is a 25+ year applied technology professional who optimizes technology and business investments for global customers. She focuses on optimized customer experiences. Rox loves interviewing authors, writing white papers, reviewing books, and loves creating fiction.

Together they create award-winning stories that resonate with men and women, young and experienced adults, and bring a fresh new view to technology possibilities today. They invite you to visit their newly revised website, look around and grab some free stuff

Follow Breakfield and Burkey



Connect and follow on social media

LinkedIn:  and

Twitter:         @EnigmaSeries and



To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the authors’ tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site. If you’d like to schedule your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HEREThanks for supporting these authors and their work!

Roberta Writes: Thursday Doors – Bothongo Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

I was going to post about Maropeng Visitor Centre today and some of the displays relating to early man, but my week didn’t go according to plan and I didn’t have time to do the necessary research. If you would like to know why it was so traumatic, you can read about it here:

Instead, I am posting pictures from our visit to the Bothongo Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve near Magaliesberg.

If you’d like to learn more about this reserve, you can do so here:

This is the exit gate
Entrance and exit gates from the exit side

The lions are not in a cage, their enclosure is large. They just happened to be lying right at the gate so we weren’t allowed into their enclosure and had to take pictures though the fence.

Here is a video clip of warthogs in the wild:

Here is a clip of the wild dogs:

You can join in Thursday Doors here:

Roberta Writes – Book review: The Ferryman and the Sea Witch by D. Wallace Peach

The Ferryman and the Sea Witch by [D. Wallace Peach]

What Amazon says

The merrow rule the sea. Slender creatures, fair of face, with silver scales and the graceful tails of angelfish. Caught in a Brid Clarion net, the daughter of the sea witch perishes in the sunlit air. Her fingers dangle above the swells.

The queen of the sea bares her sharp teeth and, in a fury of wind and waves, cleanses the brine of ships and men. But she spares a boy for his single act of kindness. Callum becomes the Ferryman, and until Brid Clarion pays its debt with royal blood, only his sails may cross the Deep.

Two warring nations, separated by the merrow’s trench, trade infant hostages in a commitment to peace. Now, the time has come for the heirs to return home. The Ferryman alone can undertake the exchange.

Yet, animosities are far from assuaged. While Brid Clarion’s islands bask in prosperity, Haf Killick, a floating city of derelict ships, rots and rusts and sinks into the reefs. Its ruler has other designs.

And the sea witch crafts dark bargains with all sides.

Callum is caught in the breach, with a long-held bargain of his own which, once discovered, will shatter this life.

My review

The Ferryman and the Sea Witch is a terrific take on the legends of mermaids and sirens, who traditionally are dark and dangerous creatures. The Sea Witch, Panmar, rules the Deep, a significant section of the ocean between two nations of people, namely Bid Clarion ruled by King Thayne, and Haf Killick, under Queen Caspia. The Deep is home to Panmar’s people called merrow who are powerful swimmers and have the power of life or death over drowning sailors. Panmar can also control the weather and the nature of the ocean, conjuring up great and destructive storms at will.

The Ferryman is the only human who is allowed to cross this section of the ocean in his ship, Windwraith. Any other ships are destroyed and the crew drowned by the Sea Witch. The Ferryman, Callum, was on board a ship under the control of King Thayne when the crew captured a merrow, the daughter of Panmar. The crew torment the merrow much to Callum anguish. Panmar wrecks the ship in an effort to save her daughter and Callum finds the courage to cut the net holding the merrow, in an effort to free her. Unfortunately, he is to late and the merrow dies. All the crew of the ship are drowned but Panmar makes a bargain with Callum that he will be the only human who can cross the ocean, but he may never set foot on land again and he has to sacrifice a human on every crossing. The bargain will remain until a human of royal blood is offered as a sacrifice to Panmar in return for the death of her daughter.

Bid Clarion and Haf Killick are dependent on each other for trading, with Haf Killick, a city constructed of ships and other vessels, being particularly reliant on trade for survival. The two leaders hatch a plan to exchange their infant children in order to ensure that neither defaults on the trading arrangements.

The story starts with the daughter of Queen Caspia preparing to return home in exchange for Prince Rylan, the son of King Thayne.

The Ferryman had a terrible job. For twenty years he has been trapped aboard his ship and responsible for personally making the human sacrifices to Panmar. He has become worn down with it, but feels trapped. He is a pawn between the two leaders and a victim of Panmar’s one-sided bargains.

Throughout this story, the Ferryman is a victim, lacking control over his own destiny and unable to make decisions to improve his life. He believes he is unable to escape his destiny. Fundamentally a good man, he tries to protect his crew and family as best he can, but he does make a few mistakes in dealing with people that cause him a great deal of trouble. I felt sorry for the Ferryman, it is always hard to confess to deception and deviousness.

I enjoyed the growth in the Ferryman’s character and the way he overcame his despondency and lack of will and stepped up to the tasks required of him. He is the epitome of the view that brave people are just people who find the courage to take action despite being scared.

The merrow are fabulous. They are exactly as I would have imagined dark mermaids to be, with flawed ideas on right and wrong, manipulative streaks, and an underlying cruelness. Panmar is ruthless and heartless, and has no regard for any humans, even Callum.

The Ferryman and the Sea Witch is an exciting story set in a fantasy world which will capture readers imagination and hearts.

Purchase The Ferryman and the Sea Witch by D. Wallace Peach

Amazon US

D. Wallace Peach Amazon Author Page

Roberta Writes – Divine Comedy, Inferno: Canto 3

My blogging friend Rebecca Budd is currently participating in a #KaramazovReadalong, you can read about it here:

The reading group are reading one chapter a day of this book and it inspired me to tackle Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri in the same manner.

Canto 3 opens with the ominous inscription over the gates of Hell: “Abandon every hope, all ye who enter here.”

Dante and Virgil move through the gates into a place of transition where spirits who did not use their intellect to choose to follow either God or Satan, must linger for all eternity. Hell is a place for people who consciously choose an evil way of life and Heaven is for those who choose a righteous way of life. The entrance to Hell is for those whom neither Heaven nor Hell will accept because they chose neither but elected to be undecided.

These ‘undecided’ souls are doomed to remain with the selfish, running after a banner and being stung by hornets and wasps for all eternity.

Dante is horrified by these spirits in such pain and wants to learn more about them, but he is chivied along by Virgil.

Virgil moves Dante along the beach of Acheron to where the ferryman, Charon, is ferrying condemned souls across the river to Hell.

Charon refuses to take Dante as he only ferries souls who have no chance of salvation. Dante is still alive and thus can still be saved. Charon tells Dante he must take a lighter craft from another shore. Virgil argues with Charon that Dante’s journey through Hell has been willed and, therefore, must happen.

Charon ignores Virgil and continues to push souls onto his boat, whacking them with his oar if they resist. Charon sets off across the river with his load of souls and the bank immediately starts to fill up with new souls seeking passage.

There is a sudden earthquake, accompanied by fire and loud sounds and Dante faints from fright.

The Gates of Hel sculpture. Picture credit:

The Gates of Hell is a monumental sculptural group work by French artist Auguste Rodin that depicts this concept as described in Canto 3. It stands at 6 metres high, 4 metres wide and 1 metre deep (19.7×13.1×3.3 ft) and contains 180 figures. 

In Greek mythology, Charon is a psychopomp, the ferryman of Hades who carries souls of the newly deceased who had received the rites of burial, across the river Styx that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. A coin to pay Charon for passage, usually an obolus or danake, was sometimes placed in or on the mouth of a dead person. You can read more about Charon here:

The Divine Comedy: Inferno 2 Crossing with Charon – The Eclectic Light  Company
Gustave Doré (1832–1883), Charon Herds the Sinners onto his Boat (1857). Picture credit:

A quote from Canto 3:

“Charon, the demon, with his ember eyes

makes beckoning signs to them, collects them all,

and with his oar beats who so takes his ease.

Even as in autumn leaves detach themselves,

now one and now another, till their branch

sees all its stripped off clothing on the ground;

so, one by one, the evil seed of Adam

cast themselves down that river-bank at signals,

as doth a bird to its recalling lure.”