These studies examined the neurochemistry and neuroanatomy of the serotonin (5-HT) system innervating the anterior hypothalamus (AH) and the interaction of 5-HT receptor agonists with arginine vasopressin (AVP) in the regulation of offensive aggression in golden hamsters. Because specific 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, and AVP V1A binding sites were observed within the AH by in vitro autoradiography, the hamsters were tested for offensive aggression after microinjections of AVP in combination with either the 5-HT1A agonist 8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino) tetraline (DPAT) or the 5-HT1B agonist CGS-12066A (CGS) directly within the AH. Though treatment with DPAT resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of AVP-facilitated offensive aggression, CGS was ineffective. In addition, a retrograde tracer was injected within the AH to localize the distribution of 5-HT neurons projecting to the area. Retrogradely labeled 5-HT neurons were found within the dorsal, median, and caudal linear raphe nuclei and are suspected to inhibit AVP-facilitated offensive aggression by an activation of 5-HT1A receptors in the AH.