Base: graffito

Main panel: Hermes, upper half

Main panel:Herakles and Cerberus, upper half

Main panel: head of Herakles

Main panel: Athena, upper half

Shoulder: warrior on left

Collection: Toledo Museum of Art
Summary: Main panel: Herakles and CerberusShoulder: departure of warriors and hunters
Ware: Attic Black Figure
Painter: Attributed to the Leagros Group, Painter S
Date: ca. 510 BC

H. to top of handle 0.50 m., h. to rim 0.45 m., d. rim 0.212 m., d. shoulder 0.272 m., d. foot 0.15 m.

Primary Citation: ABV, 360, 11
Shape: Hydria
Period: Late Archaic


Missing fragments restored in plaster, with a dent next to Herakles's right elbow and a second to the right of the picture. Behind the vase the glaze is mottled red.

Decoration Description:

Main panel: Herakles and Cerberus. On the right, an Ionic column with entablature represents the entrance to the house of Hades. Cerberus is emerging from the house; with a white collar around his shoulders, he is led on a white chain, ending in a tassel, by Herakles. Cerberus has three heads, one entirely visible, one with visible eye and ear and mane, and one visible only as incised strokes under Herakles's left arm. Holding the chain in his left hand, Herakles walks left but turns his head back to look at the house or some invisible figure within. He raises his club in his right hand. He is dressed in his lionskin, a chitoniskos, and a baldric over his left shoulder, from which hang bow and quiver. Next to Herakles on the left crouches Hermes, who raises his left arm as if coaxing the dog. Hermes is bearded and is wearing a petasos, chitoniskos, nebris and boots. A cloak is draped over his left arm, while his right hand holds a kerykeion. Athena waits behind Hermes, upright with her left arm raised. Her right hand grasps her spear, held in the same position as Hermes's kerykeion. She wears a high-crested Attic helmet with neck-guard, a peplos and aegis devoid of gorgoneion. Athena's chariot team is visible from the front, standing behind her on the far left, with an owl perched on the rein guard.

Added red is used for the horses' manes and breastbands, dots on Athena's skirt, parts of her helmet, Hermes's beard, his petasos brim and cord, dots on his cloak, nebris, and chiton and one mark on his quiver, and a mark on one of Cerberus's heads. Added white appears on Athena's flesh, marks on Hermes's clothing, Herakles's baldric and the teeth on the lionskin, Cerberus's mane, his chain and leash, the column capital and block.

Departure of warriors and hunters. On the far left, an old man is sitting on a block and holding a spear. He wears a chiton, himation, and fillet. He is facing right, looking at a hunter whose body also faces right, but who looks back over his left shoulder at the old man. The hunter is dressed in chlamys and petasos and holds a pair of spears propped against his shoulder. In front of the hunter stands a fully armed warrior facing right, holding a round shield on his right side. The shield device is a human leg. The warrior is wearing a chlamys, greaves, and a low-crested Corinthian helmet, and he too carries two spears. In front of him stands a second hunter with spears over his left shoulder. This hunter also faces right and wears a chitoniskos, chlamys, petasos, and boots. A third hunter stands in front of the second; at his right side he holds a horse in check, while in his left hand he carries two spears. He is dressed like the hunter just behind him. Facing this third hunter and his horse is a second old man seated on a block, looking left. The old man leans on a spear and wears a himation and fillet. Behind him, also facing left, is a woman wearing a peplos and fillet and holding a phiale in her outstretched right hand and an oinochoe in her left. Behind the woman on the far right stands a second armed warrior wearing a low-crested Corinthian helmet, greaves, and chlamys and carrying a round shield. Its device is a ball. This warrior faces left and like most of the other males he holds a pair of spears.

In the shoulder scene added red is used for certain of the folds and marks on the clothing of the two old men and the woman, the first hunter's petasos and the cords of the other two petasoi, the horse's mane and tail and both shield borders. Added white includes the two old men's hair and beards, the second and third hunters' petasoi, the woman's skin, the horse's front legs and the shield devices.

The mouth and neck interior is fully glazed. The rotelles of the vertical ridged handle are red. Alternately red and black tongues ring the base of the neck. Double rows of ivy leaves mark the side borders of the main panel; at the bottom of the picture is a row of oblique and horizontal palmettes. The inside of the main panel's side and lower borders is marked by pairs of lines, while the outside contains single lines. A pair of lines in added red runs below the figure scene and another above the rays at the base. The fillet between body and foot is also in red.

Special attention has been paid by scholars to the positions of Hermes and Athena in the main panel. Sourvinou-Inwood argues that both figures' posture and actions are apparently gratuitous to the main action in the scene, since Cerberus has already been made docile (Antike Kunst 17 (1974), pp. 30 ff). Other authors disagree, pointing away from iconographical significance toward the convenience of fitting one crouching figure and one in a parallel upright stance into a crowded scene such as this (CVA, USA fasc.17, pp. 18-19).


A graffito is seen on the underside of the vessel.

Sources Used:

CVA, USA fasc. 17, pp. 18-19, pls. 25-26

Other Bibliography:

ABV, p. 360, no. 11; Brommer 1956, p. 53, no. 53; Brommer 1960, p. 73, no. 53; Münzen 1969, pp. 41-42, no. 71; Luckner 1972, p. 69; Brommer 1973, p. 93, no. 10; Sourvinou-Inwood, Antike Kunst 17 (1974), pp. 30 ff.; CVA, Oxford fasc. 3 (Great Britain fasc.14), p. 25.