Sycophancy

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Botticelli's illustration of Dante's Inferno shows insincere flatterers grovelling in excrement in the second pit of the eighth circle. Sandro Botticelli - Inferno, Canto XVIII - WGA02854.jpg
Botticelli's illustration of Dante's Inferno shows insincere flatterers grovelling in excrement in the second pit of the eighth circle.

Sycophancy [2] is insincere flattery given to gain advantage from a superior. [3] A user of sycophancy is referred to as a sycophant or a “yes-man.”

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Alternative phrases are often used such as:

See also

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The word sycophant has its origin in the legal system of Classical Athens. Most legal cases of the time were brought by private litigants as there was no police force and only a limited number of officially appointed public prosecutors. By the fifth century BCE this practice had given rise to abuse by "sycophants": litigants who brought unjustified prosecutions. The word retains the same meaning ("slanderer") in Modern Greek and French. In modern English, the meaning of the word has shifted to that of an "insincere flatterer", used to refer to someone practicing sycophancy.

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References

  1. Italian culture, 15, American Association of University Professors of Italian, 1997, p. 80
  2. Alphons Silbermann, translator Ladislaus Loeb (2000), Grovelling and other vices: the sociology of sycophancy, Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN   978-0-485-11544-4
  3. Classical Association of the Middle States and Maryland, Classical Association of the Atlantic States (1919). "The Classical Weekly, Volume 12". Classical Philology. Classical Association of the Atlantic States, 1919. 12: 128.

Further reading