The river Rubicon was considered to be the dividing line between Italy and the rest of the Empire. But what did really happen that day and how much do we really know about the event? What does it mean to ‘cross the Rubicon’? At the heart of the dispute was the issue of who ruled in Rome. Drawing Info. Today the phrase 'crossing the Rubicon' is used whenever somebody goes past the point of no return. Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Read Online (Free) relies on page scans, which are not currently available to screen readers. Select the purchase A jeep model is named for his crossing the Rubicon River, and a calendar still in use—the Julian—takes its name from him. There had been many civil wars in the previous century but the one started by Caesar was to change Roman history forever. So once he crossed it, It was a blatant act of defiance towards the senate. But it seems that the vast majority of senators wanted a peaceful resolution of the dispute between the senators and Caesar. Why was Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon an important event? The Rubicon was the limit on this northern side. Franz Steiner is one of Germany's most prominent academic publishing houses. Why [)id Caesar Cross the Rubicon? The expression means to make a difficult decision with irreversible consequences – in short, to pass the point of no return. Original articles feature research on Greek and Hellenistic history, the Roman Republic and Empire as well as late antiquity. tantis rebus gestis C. Caesar condemnatus essem nisi ab … “Alea iacta est,” said Caesar: The die is cast. Thanks! An ancient Roman law forbade any general from crossing the Rubicon River and entering Italy with a standing army. “The die is cast,” “crossing the Rubicon,” and “I came, I saw, I conquered” are all popular phrases that, taken from Caesar’s military career, convey decisive action. To do so was treason. Why did Caesar cross the Rubicon? We only publish those projects which proved their academic value in external anonymous peer assessments. Having won the civil war – defeating the de facto leader of the Roman state, Pompey – Caesar named himself as the dictator of Rome. Everything you ever wanted to know about... What are the origins of the Christmas pantomime? Historia was founded in 1952 by Karl Friedrich Stroheker and Gerold Walser. On this day in history, 49 BC, Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with a legion of his soldiers, which was against Roman law. This day in history in 55 B.C.- Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River and starts a civil war in the Roman Republic. The expression cross the Rubicon refers to a decision made by Julius Caesar. Cross the rubicon definition at, a free online dictionary with pronunciation, synonyms and translation. But what kind of die was Caesar casting and what decision was he making? Caesar knew he would lose everything: property, liberty, even his life. To access this article, please, Access everything in the JPASS collection, Download up to 10 article PDFs to save and keep, Download up to 120 article PDFs to save and keep. I century’s center BC the Republic experienced inner disaster. In the eyes of Rome, he would be an enemy of the state but he still crossed the Rubicon, sparking civil war. Hi, I hope you can answer a question for me. So once he crossed it, It was a blatant act of defiance towards the senate. There are certain historical events that have a significance beyond the immediate fact that they happened, and Caesar’s action in crossing a tiny river is one of them. Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte Why is that significant? It was at this moment that Caesar said the now famous phrase, “The die is cast.”. As Caesar debates whether to cross the Rubicon, an otherwordly figure appears, wearing a yellow tunic and playing a lute (left). This Day In History: January 10, 49 BC. There seems to be a problem, please try again. '7 Caesar admits that he used his army against the commonwealth in 49 because In January 49 BC, Caesar crossed the Rubicon river (the frontier boundary of Italy) with only one legion and ignited civil war. Look it up now! After years of war in Britain and Gaul, Caesar had decided to become master of Rome. 1 decade ago. Check out using a credit card or bank account with. To cross the Rubicon means to make a decision or take a step that commits one to a specific course of action from which there is no turning back. Father Christmas and Santa Claus: a brief history of two Christmas champions, Did Oliver Cromwell ban Christmas? Caesar himself does not mention the expression it in his Bellum Civile. When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, it was an act of treason towards Rome sense the senate warned him beforehand to disband his army and then cross the river. 11 Answers. I, Gaius Caesar, in spite of such great deeds would have been condemned, had I not sought help from my army (hoc uoluerunt. With a personal account, you can read up to 100 articles each month for free. On today’s date in AD 49, Caesar crossed the Rubicon. In 49 B.C., Julius Caesar was the governor of Gaul, which meant he had to give up his power in Rome. Hence the Rubicon became, as it were, the visible sign and symbol of civil restriction to military power. Answers (2) Maziah October 13, 4:07 AM. Of course Caesar had to cross the Rubicon in his journey southward; however, the dramatic pause of the general on his horse at the ford of the Rubicon may all be a later myth- … Anything associating the Rubicon with the line beyond which it was not possible for Caesar to withdraw occurs only after Lucan's epic poem on the civil war, written at the end of the Julio-Claudian period. 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By entering your details, you are agreeing to HistoryExtra terms and conditions and privacy policy. Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon. Caesar knew he had enemies. Relevance. Some influential people in Rome may have wanted a war, or at least to bring Caesar down. Caesar marched a single legion to the boundary between Gaul and Italy, marked by the small river, and he knew that to go any further was forbidden. By crossing the Rubicon with his armies Caesar effectively stated his intention to march on Rome and take his position by force. But it only lasted five years as he famously did not heed the warning of another famous idiom – “Beware the Ides of March” – and was stabbed to death. He would be assassinated in 44BC. This tiny stream would reveal Caesar's intentions and mark the point of no return. ©2000-2020 ITHAKA. It refers back to a decision made by Julius Caesar in January 49 BC that changed Ancient Rome forever. To remain in Gaul meant forfeiting his power to his enemies in Rome. Anonymous. The crossing of a small stream in northern Italy became one of ancient history's most pivotal events. The Puritan assault on Christmas during the 1640s and 1650s, The 8 bloodiest Roman emperors in history, 6 things you (probably) didn’t know about animals in ancient Rome. It was at this moment that Caesar said the now famous phrase, “The die is cast.” [Caesar's expenditure of money at Rome.] on the banks of the Rubicon, Julius Caesar faced a critical choice. Fully aware of the momentous nature of his decision, Caesar ignored the warning and began to march south on Rome. Why Caesar crossed the Rubicon is a question none other than Caesar himself answered: 'They wanted it so. You're now subscribed to our newsletter. The majority are likewise conscious of the truth that his look is definitely an appearance of obligation Julius Caesar… Much less is famous by what the Rubicon, and just why this task is just a politician, and under what conditions handed Caesar herself transpired ever. Caesar Crossing the Rubicon Today, 2060 years ago (according to the old Roman calendar), Caesar crossed the Rubicon and uttered the so famous phrase alea iacta est – the die is cast. From it sprang the Roman Empire and the genesis of modern European culture. You can unsubscribe at any time. Request Permissions. When Julius Caesar was about to cross the tiny Rubicon River in 49 B.C.E., he quoted from a play by Menander to say "anerriphtho kybos!" He does not even mention crossing the Rubicon. Answer Save. Now on the marge of Rubicon, he saw, In face most sorrowful and ghostly guise, His trembling country’s image; huge it seemed Through mists of night obscure; and hoary … option. Caesar was named an enemy of the state and told to come home and face the senate. Read your article online and download the PDF from your email or your account. In one of the most iconic moments of Caesar’s biography, in 49 B.C.E. Once he had crossed the Rubicon with soldiers there were no more political or diplomatic options available, combat was the only way forward, … the general — under orders from the Roman Senate to disband his armies — made the cold-blooded decision to lead his army across the Rubicon river into Italy. If he brought his veteran armies across the river Rubicon in northern Italy, the Republic would be in a state of civil war. In the eyes of Rome, he would be an enemy of the state but he still crossed the Rubicon, sparking civil war. You have successfully linked your account! [His influence.] In January 49 BC, he crossed the Rubicon River with his army, in violation of sacred Roman law, and begin a civil war. the act of doing so constituted civil war, and in fact one ensued. To cross the Rubicon with an army on the way to Rome was rebellion and treason. The reason Pompey, Cato, and the rest of the anti-Caesar senators left Italy was because they believed Caesar was bringing his whole army across the Rubicon. He thought he'd be killed once he entered Rome so he led his army into Rome instead. This is why "crossing the Rubicon" has become a catch phrase, and why the Rubicon, otherwise a small and insignificant river, became symbolic of Caesar's war against Rome. Favourite answer. tantis rebus gestis C. Caesar condemnatus essem nisi ab exercitu auxilium petissem). This item is part of JSTOR collection The Rubicon (Latin: Rubico, Italian: Rubicone pronounced ) is a shallow river in northeastern Italy, just south of Ravenna.It was known as Fiumicino prior to 1933, when it was identified with the ancient river Rubicon, famously crossed by Julius Caesar in 49 BC.. Generals commanding in Gaul were never to pass it. Caesar and his soldiers follow the figure (left of center). after conquering most of europe all the way to Briton, Caesar was called back to Rome by the Senate. As a successful governor of the Roman province of Gaul (modern-day France), many in Rome feared Caesar’s growing power so the Senate ordered him to disband his legions and return to Rome. or "let the die be cast" in Greek. If you subscribe to BBC History Magazine Print or Digital Editions then you can unlock 10 years’ worth of archived history material fully searchable by Topic, Location, Period and Person. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization helping the academic community use digital technologies to preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and teaching in sustainable ways. © 2003 Franz Steiner Verlag as a general, Caesar was not allowed to cross the Rubicon river, no general was permitted to do so under the prevailing customs and laws of his time. But when Julius Caesar decided to cross the Rubicon, he only brought one legion; why … On 10 January 49 BC, Roman general Julius Caesar defied an ultimatum set to him by the Senate. Caesar Crosses the Rubicon. The official website for BBC History Magazine, BBC History Revealed and BBC World Histories Magazine, Save over 50% on a BBC History Magazine or BBC History Revealed gift subscription. You will shortly receive a receipt for your purchase via email. 69 'They wanted it so. Crossing The Rubicon, Literally – Caesar Sparks War In 49 BC. To cross the Rubicon is a metaphor which means to take an irrevocable step that commits one to a specific course. Historia is an international, peer-reviewed journal focusing on Greek and Roman antiquity. Upon crossing the Rubicon, Caesar, according to Plutarch and Suetonius, is supposed to have quoted the Athenian playwright Menander, in Greek, "the die is cast". Instead, he briefly states being in Ravenna, moves on to summarize his address to his soldiers and then swiftly mentions setting out with … Cicero records Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon in the same way Caesar himself does. When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, it was an act of treason towards Rome sense the senate warned him beforehand to disband his army and then cross the river. I, Gaius Caesar, in spite of such great deeds would have been condemned, had I not sought help from my army (hoc uoluerunt. Caesar has crossed the Alps, his mighty soul Great tumults pondering and the coming shock. We oversee more than 150 serial publications as well as 28 periodicals and publish such renowned series as Historia, Hermes and Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie. Caesar believes the gods are on his side, encouraging him to proceed into Italy. Access supplemental materials and multimedia. Pompey accused Caesar of insubordination and treason. Please enter your number below. The Rubicon is a small river in northern Italy, so why is crossing it considered such a significant thing to do? Specifically, Governors of Roman provinces (promagistrates) were not allowed to bring any part of their army within Italy itself and, if they tried, they automatically forfeited their right to rule, even in their own province. All Rights Reserved. 0. Why does Caesar cross the Rubicon and start a civil war? The Rubicon first occurs as a boundary for Marc Antony, who was forbidden from taking an army from Italy north of the Rubicon. Caesar decided it was better to fight for victory than accept certain defeat. Caesar marched a single legion to the boundary between Gaul and Italy, marked by the small river, and he knew that to go any further was forbidden.