Masters were justifiably worried that a slave might see or hear something within the household which could find yourself getting used against them during a court of law or popular opinion .
Ancient Greeks even had a goddess who represented gossip. Pheme (“fame” or “rumor” in English) was the last daughter of the goddess Gaia. She was depicted as a terrible winged creature who delighted in ruffling her feathers.
Beneath every feather there was a prying eye, a pricked ear and a wagging tongue. She flew from place to put at great speed, gabbling and screeching lies and half-truths to a person who would listen.