The final act of the cult, the "exaltation" of the fig, with which Reinach compares the "exaltation" of the ear of corn by the hierophant at the Eleusinian mysteries, was performed by the sycophant.
As the cult of the Phytalidae sank into insignificance beside the greater mysteries, the term sycophant survived in popular language in the sense of an informer or denouncer, whose charges deserved but little consideration.
A parvenu of the middle classes, he was brutal in his treatment of the lower orders and a sycophant in his behaviour towards the powerful; prodigiously active, ill-obeyedas was the custombut much dreaded.
Again, like the hierophant, the sycophant publicly pronounced the formula of exclusion of certain unworthy persons from the celebration of the mysteries of the fig.
The notorious fondness of the Athenians for litigation increased his power; and the practice of "sycophancy" (raking up material for false charges; see Sycophant), enabled him to remove those who were likely to endanger his ascendancy.