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Headword: Συκοφαντεῖν
Adler number: sigma,1330
Translated headword: to prosecute vexatiously, to blackmail
Vetting Status: high
The [verb that means] to accuse someone falsely. They say that it was called this among Athenians when the fig-plant had first been discovered and because of this they were preventing the export of the figs. Since those revealing those who were exporting [figs] were called "sycophants" ["fig-showers"], it came about that also those who accused people in any manner vexatiously were so called.[1]
Aristophanes [writes]: "these also are small and native". For vexatious prosecution [is] characteristic of Athenians.[2]
Aelian [writes]: "he accused the god of negligence. From such things [he said] diseases and shortages of food prevailed in the [city] of the Himerians."[3]
Greek Original:
Συκοφαντεῖν: τὸ ψευδῶς τινος κατηγορεῖν. κεκλῆσθαι δέ φασι τοῦτο παρ' Ἀθηναίοις πρῶτον εὑρεθέντος τοῦ φυτοῦ τῆς συκῆς καὶ διὰ τοῦτο κωλυόντων ἐξάγειν τὰ σῦκα. τῶν δὲ φαινόντων τοὺς ἐξάγοντας συκοφαντῶν κληθέντων, συνέβη καὶ τοὺς ὁπωσοῦν κατηγοροῦντας τινῶν φιλαπεχθημόνως οὕτω προσαγορευθῆναι. Ἀριστο- φάνης: καὶ ταῦτα μὲν δὴ σμικρὰ κἀπιχώρια. ἴδιον γὰρ Ἀθηναίων τὸ συκοφαντεῖν. Αἰλιανός: ὁ δὲ ἐσυκοφάντει τὸν θεὸν ὀλιγωρίας. ἐκ δὴ τούτων νόσοι καὶ τροφῶν ἀπορίαι τὴν Ἱμεραίων κατέσχον.
[1] Same material in Photius, Lexicon sigma687 Theodoridis, and cf. also (e.g.) the scholia to Plato, Republic 340D, where the noun συκοφάντης occurs. For related entries see sigma 1329, sigma 1331, sigma 1332, sigma 1333.
[2] Aristophanes, Acharnians 523, with scholion.
[3] Aelian fr. 43a Domingo-Forasté, quoted already in part at iota 346.
Keywords: aetiology; agriculture; biography; botany; comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; food; geography; law; medicine; philosophy; politics; religion; trade and manufacture
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 28 March 2012@01:45:59.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (adjustments to tr; augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 28 March 2012@03:18:09.
David Whitehead on 2 January 2014@06:10:59.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticule) on 3 April 2014@13:39:08.
David Whitehead (supplied note number; other tweaking) on 4 April 2014@02:59:01.
David Whitehead (coding) on 27 May 2016@03:21:35.


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