amongst the ancient Romans, was similar to the Irish howl over the dead; and, as in Ireland, women led the funeral cortège, weeping ostentatiously and gesticulating. “One not howled over” (corpus nondum conclamatum) meant one at the point of death; and “one howled for” was one given up for dead or really deceased. Virgil tells us that the ululation was a Phoenician custom; and therefore he makes the palace ring with howls when Dido burnt herself to death.
Lamentis, gemituque, et foemineo ululato, Texta fremunt.
Æneid, iv. 667.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894