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Caesar Crossed the Rubicon

By January 10, 2014

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This Day in Ancient History (January 10):
Caesar Crosses the Rubicon
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To cross the Rubicon means to take an irrevocable step that commits one to a specific course. It started when Julius Caesar led his troops across the Rubicon river on this day in 49 B.C., in violation of the law.

Section on the Crossing of the Rubicon
From Suetonius' Life of Julius Caesar
When he came to the river Rubicon, which parts Gaul within the Alps from the rest of Italy, his thoughts began to work, now he was just entering upon the danger, and he wavered much in his mind, when he considered the greatness of the enterprise into which he was throwing himself. He checked his course, and ordered a halt, while he revolved with himself, and often changed his opinion one way and the other, without speaking a word. This was when his purposes fluctuated most; presently he also discussed the matter with his friends who were about him, (of which number Asinius Pollio was one,) computing how many calamities his passing that river would bring upon mankind, and what a relation of it would be transmitted to posterity. At last, in a sort of passion, casting aside calculation, and abandoning himself to what might come, and using the proverb frequently in their mouths who enter upon dangerous and bold attempts, "The die is cast," with these words he took the river. Once over, he used all expedition possible, and before it was day reached Ariminum, and took it.

The Rubicon


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