Terracotta lekythos (oil flask)

Attributed to the Tithonos Painter

Period: Classical

Date: ca. 480–470 B.C.

Culture: Greek, Attic

Medium: Terracotta; red-figure

Dimensions: H. 13 3/8 in. (34 cm); width 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm); diameter of foot 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm)
diameter of mouth 3 1/16 in. (7.8 cm)

Classification: Vases

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1925

Accession Number: 25.78.2


Hermes, the messenger god, moves swiftly across this vase on some errand for Zeus, the ruler of the gods. Dressed in traveling clothes with a chlamys (short cloak) and a petasos (broad-brimmed hat), he wears winged sandals and carries a herald's staff, a kerykeion, which terminates in entwined snakes. The same symbol was carried by Greek heralds as they traveled from city to city.