late 14c., "solemn rite or ceremony," from Old French celebrité "celebration" or directly from Latin celibritatem (nominative celebritas) "multitude, fame," from celeber "frequented, populous" (see celebrate). Meaning "condition of being famous" is from c. 1600; that of "a famous person" is from 1849.
When the old gods withdraw, the empty thrones cry out for a successor, and with good management, or even without management, almost any perishable bag of bones may be hoisted into the vacant seat. [E.R. Dodds, "The Greeks and the Irrational"]
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