Saturday, January 10, 2015

JULIUS CAESAR Crosses the RUBICON ~ January 10, 49 BCE

49 BCE: Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon, signaling the start of civil war.

Rubicon (Rubicō, Italian: Rubicone) is a 29 km long river in northern Italy. The river flows from the Apennine Mountains to the Adriatic Sea through the southern Emilia-Romagna region between the towns of Rimini and Cesena.

"Crossing the Rubicon" is a popular idiom meaning to pass a point of no return. This phrase is often used by journalists in newspapers. It refers to Caesar's 49 BCE crossing of the river, which was considered an act of war.

The river is notable as Roman law prohibited the Rubicon from being crossed by any Roman Army legion. The river was considered to mark the boundary between the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul to the north and Italy proper to the south; the law thus protected the republic from internal military threat. When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his army in 49 BC, supposedly on January 10 of the Roman calendar, to make his way to Rome, he broke that law and made armed conflict inevitable. According to historian Suetonius, Caesar uttered the famous phrase ālea iacta est ("the die is cast").

Suetonius also described how Caesar was apparently still undecided as he approached the river, and the author gave credit for the actual moment of crossing to a supernatural apparition. The phrase "crossing the Rubicon" has survived to refer to any people committing themselves irrevocably to a risky and revolutionary course of action – similar to the modern phrase "passing the point of no return". It also refers, in limited usage, to its plainer meaning of using military power in a non-receptive homeland.

Since the river has changed its course many times through the years, it is impossible to confirm exactly where the original Rubicon flowed when Julius Caesar crossed it.

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