Image b, the outside of the cup, is an example of red-figure pottery. This cup is called “bilingual” because it shows both styles of pottery: red-figure on the exterior and black-figure on the interior. Most of these black and red-figure pieces were made in Athens and Corinth and were traded throughout Greece and neighboring areas, including Etruria. For more information on red-figure pottery, see Resource 1. To explore the evolution of Greek sculpture, see connections.
Most black-figure pottery depicts mythology and the day-to-day life of Ancient Greece, including the Olympics. To learn more about the origin of the Olympics, see Resource 2.
The interior of this piece (image a) portrays Hermes, the messenger god, and son of Zeus. Hermes is usually shown holding a staff and wearing winged sandals. He was credited with creating fire and the alphabet. To learn more about the mythology of Hermes, see Resource 3.
Hermes Eye Cup Activity Guide