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(συκοφάντης/sykophántēs, 'sycophant'). The term first appears in Old Comedy (Aristoph. fr. 228, 427 BC). The origin of the word is unknown, with ancient conjectures on the etymology (sykophantes as a man who 'reveals figs') being unconvincing. In Comedy, sykophantai are linked with threats, demands for money and extortion; their acting as prosecutors in court is also characteristic (Aristoph. Av. 1410-1469; Aristoph. Plut. 850-959). This perception of sykophantai is echoed in numerous mentions in the orators; for instance, Lysias [1] alleges that sykophantai a…

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Osborne, Robin (Oxford), “Sykophantes”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 25 March 2023 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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