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συκοφάντης). A word which originally signified, according to the popular derivation, one who brought into notice cases of the prohibited export of figs from Attica. The term was afterwards applied to a professional informer and accuser. There were many such persons who carried on a lucrative business in Athens at the time of the decay of the democracy, in spite of the fact that the authors of false accusations were punished most severely. In later times the word denoted a person whose character combined the traits of a busybody, scandalmonger, sharper, and buffoon, and in this sense it is used in the Latin plays of Plautus. See Büchsenschütz, Besitz und Erwerb, pp. 568 foll.

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