Around 720 B.C. a group of Greeks immigrated to Lucania, a region in southern Italy, and founded a city that they named Sybaris. Its inhabitants followed such a liberal policy of admitting people from all lands that the city flourished and was soon noted for its wealth and luxury. In fact, no other Hellenic city could compare with Sybaris in prosperity and splendor.
   According to legend, a war arose between Sybaris and its neighbor, Crotona. Although the Crotonian forces were inferior, they leveled Sybaris to the ground. The Crotonians were victorious because they exploited a weakness in the opposing army: The horses of the Sybarites had been trained to dance to the pipes. The Crotonians marched in to battle playing pipes. The horses of the Sybarites began to dance, the Sybarites themselves became confused, and the Crotonians vanquished their enemy.
   The Sybarites were given to such wanton luxury and sensual pleasures that they became effeminate. Seneca told a tale of a Sybarite who complained he had not rested comfortably at night. Asked why, he replied that a rose leaf had been doubled under him, and it hurt him. The conspicuous consumption, the love of luxury and pleasure displayed by the citizens of Sybaris, led to the English word sybarite, a person devoted to opulence and sumptuousness; in brief, a voluptuary.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

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  • sybarite — [ sibarit ] n. et adj. • 1530, rare av. XVIIIe; lat. Sybarita, gr. Subaritês « habitant de Sybaris », vivant dans le luxe et la mollesse ♦ Littér. Personne qui recherche les plaisirs de la vie dans une atmosphère de luxe et de raffinement. ⇒… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Sybarite — Syb a*rite, n. [L. Sybarita, Gr. ?, fr. ?, a city in Italy, noted for the effeminacy and voluptuousness of its inhabitants; cf. F. Sybarite.] A person devoted to luxury and pleasure; a voluptuary. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sybarite — 1610s (implied in Sybaritical), person devoted to pleasure, lit. inhabitant of Sybaris, ancient Gk. town in southern Italy, whose inhabitants were noted for their love of luxury. From L. Sybarita, from Gk. Sybarites …   Etymology dictionary

  • sybarite — ► NOUN ▪ a person who is self indulgently fond of sensuous luxury. DERIVATIVES sybaritic adjective. ORIGIN originally denoting an inhabitant of Sybaris, an ancient Greek city in southern Italy, noted for its luxury …   English terms dictionary

  • Sybarite — [sib′ərīt΄] n. [L Sybarita < Gr Sybaritēs] 1. a person born or living in ancient Sybaris 2. [s ] anyone very fond of self indulgence and luxury; voluptuary Sybaritic adj. sybaritic [sib′ərit′ik] sybaritically adv. sybaritism [sib′ərīt΄iz΄əm] n …   English World dictionary

  • SYBARITE — s. m. Il se dit, par allusion aux anciens habitants de la ville de Sybaris, d Un homme qui mène une vie molle et voluptueuse. C est un Sybarite, un vrai Sybarite. Il mène une vie de Sybarite …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

  • SYBARITE — n. m. Homme qui mène une vie molle et voluptueuse, par allusion aux anciens habitants de la ville de Sybaris. C’est un Sybarite, un vrai Sybarite. Il mène une vie de Sybarite …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

  • Sybarite — A sybarite is a general term for describing one fond of pleasure and luxury. It may also refer to: *A native of the ancient Italian city of Sybaris *Sybarite (musician), the alias of New York electronic musician Xian Hawkins *The Sybarites Ladies …   Wikipedia

  • Sybarite — Un Sybarite est un habitant de la cité antique appelée Sybaris. Un sybarite désigne une personne s adonnant au sybaritisme. Exemple : Solène et Alizée sont de sacrées sybarites! . Catégorie : Gentilé …   Wikipédia en Français

  • sybarite — (si ba ri t ) s. m. 1°   Habitant de Sybaris. •   De ce nombre était Smindyride, le plus riche et le plus voluptueux des Sybarites : il arriva sur une galère qui lui appartenait, traînant à sa suite mille de ses esclaves pêcheurs, oiseleurs et… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

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