Sunday Stamps 070: From the River of Woe to the River of Fun


I was down again with flu for the second time this year. I think my immune system is getting weak – and I only have myself to blame for it. I haven’t been physically active much of this year so I guess that’s why my health is so messed up.

On to this week’s Sunday Stamps. I missed several weeks already – sorry Viridian – and I don’t want to miss some more so here’s my entry for the theme, water.

In ancient Greek mythology, Acheron  is one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld.
In ancient Greek mythology, Acheron  is one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld.

Looking at the image on the stamp, there is a beautiful serenity about this mythical river.

However, rivers are more than just what they are. Rivers, in Greek mythology, separate the underworld  (Hades) and the land of the living in most part by five primary rivers: Styx, Lethe, Cocytus, Phlegethon, and Acheron.

The River Acheron (Ἀχέρων) is located in the Epirus (Ήπειρος) region of Northwest Greece.  It is a wide, swampy body of water.A large number of poets and writers of the ancient Greek tradition referred to Acheron as the river whose name was inextricably linked with the transition of the society of dead souls. 

Acheron is the first river that Dante and Virgil must cross in Dante’s Inferno, and it divides the truly suffering souls from the neutral ones. Acheron translates as the “River of Woe” where, in Greek mythology, Charon, the boatman, ferried the newly dead souls (those that can pay him, anyway) across into Hades. This brought to mind a scene from the movie Troy where the Greek soldiers placed coins on the eyes of their dead. It is a practice by the ancient Greeks with the belief that the coins will be used to pay Charon so they could cross the river.

Mythological references aside, the Acheron river attracts many local and foreign tourists because of its sheer beauty and flowing water. It has now evolved – from the supernatural  place where souls travel to their final destination in the underworld to that of the popular natural attraction, with its beautiful springs, hiking trails, and placid waters ideal for many water sports. Which is why in June 2012, the above commemorative stamp was issued (in a series of six; click here to see all stamps) to promote outdoor activities under the theme, Touring Greece.

I want to thank my very good friend, Macel, for sending me the postcard during their holiday in Skiathos. The postcard will be posted soon, promise ;).

10 thoughts on “Sunday Stamps 070: From the River of Woe to the River of Fun

  1. Interestingly, of the set, I like this one the best.<br />Though, I will admit that kayaking and Greece would not have been a combination I would have thought of for touring!

  2. I have boated along the Acheron twice but the first time was the most magical because tourism had yet to happen (back in the 70s) and there were lots of swooping dragon flies and sea swallows. I would still recommend the trip and would imagine it would be a nice river to canoe along, great stamp design.

  3. @Marcie: That makes the three of us, almost. Dan had the same stamp planned for posting but didn&#39;t when he saw mine already up :D<br /><br />@Bob and @coverpostcardsworldwide: I love digging stories about the stamps I receive. They churn up really interesting stories.<br /><br />@Joy: Wow, I so envy you! I would probably be enthralled the first time knowing about its significance in Greek

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