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. But when Julius Caesar decided to cross the Rubicon, he only brought one legion; why … You will shortly receive a receipt for your purchase via email. In the eyes of Rome, he would be an enemy of the state but he still crossed the Rubicon, sparking civil war. I century’s center BC the Republic experienced inner disaster. 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". This day in history in 55 B.C.- Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River and starts a civil war in the Roman Republic. From it sprang the Roman Empire and the genesis of modern European culture. 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. Request Permissions. In 49 B.C. Why did Caesar cross the Rubicon? Caesar and his soldiers follow the figure (left of center). 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. I, Gaius Caesar, in spite of such great deeds would have been condemned, had I not sought help from my army (hoc uoluerunt. 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. In one of the most iconic moments of Caesar’s biography, in 49 B.C.E. 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. To remain in Gaul meant forfeiting his power to his enemies in Rome. This article was taken from BBC History Revealed magazine, Save over 50% on a gift subscription to their favourite history magazine. Read your article online and download the PDF from your email or your account. option. Why [)id Caesar Cross the Rubicon? Thank you for subscribing to HistoryExtra, you now have unlimited access. It was at this moment that Caesar said the now famous phrase, “The die is cast.” It refers back to a decision made by Julius Caesar in January 49 BC that changed Ancient Rome forever. Caesar was named an enemy of the state and told to come home and face the senate. He does not even mention crossing the Rubicon. The Rubicon was the limit on this northern side. 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. 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. Some influential people in Rome may have wanted a war, or at least to bring Caesar down. 1 decade ago. JSTOR®, the JSTOR logo, JPASS®, Artstor®, Reveal Digital™ and ITHAKA® are registered trademarks of ITHAKA. ©2000-2020 ITHAKA. Access supplemental materials and multimedia. [His influence.] Father Christmas and Santa Claus: a brief history of two Christmas champions, Did Oliver Cromwell ban Christmas? 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. Anonymous. tantis rebus gestis C. Caesar condemnatus essem nisi ab … Once he had crossed the Rubicon with soldiers there were no more political or diplomatic options available, combat was the only way forward, … But it seems that the vast majority of senators wanted a peaceful resolution of the dispute between the senators and Caesar. Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon. An ancient Roman law forbade any general from crossing the Rubicon River and entering Italy with a standing army. The crossing of a small stream in northern Italy became one of ancient history's most pivotal events. Why is that significant? 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. 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. 69 'They wanted it so. Currently the journal is edited by Kai Brodersen, Mortimer Chambers, Martin Jehne, Mischa Meier and Walter Scheidel. on the banks of the Rubicon, Julius Caesar faced a critical choice. In the eyes of Rome, he would be an enemy of the state but he still crossed the Rubicon, sparking civil war. 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.. © 2003 Franz Steiner Verlag On today’s date in AD 49, Caesar crossed the Rubicon. There had been many civil wars in the previous century but the one started by Caesar was to change Roman history forever. Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte Crossing The Rubicon, Literally – Caesar Sparks War In 49 BC. This plunged the Roman world into civil war. tantis rebus gestis C. Caesar condemnatus essem nisi ab exercitu auxilium petissem). 0. In January 49 BC, he crossed the Rubicon River with his army, in violation of sacred Roman law, and begin a civil war. Our focal point is ancient history, but also social and economic history, as well as history of science; furthermore regional studies, Eastern European history and transatlantic studies. Hi, I hope you can answer a question for me. 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. As Caesar debates whether to cross the Rubicon, an otherwordly figure appears, wearing a yellow tunic and playing a lute (left). Favourite answer. Select the purchase With a personal account, you can read up to 100 articles each month for free. At the heart of the dispute was the issue of who ruled in Rome. 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. Why does Caesar cross the Rubicon and start a civil war? Caesar Crosses the Rubicon. Pompey accused Caesar of insubordination and treason. Answers (2) Maziah October 13, 4:07 AM. 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. This item is part of JSTOR collection The river Rubicon was considered to be the dividing line between Italy and the rest of the Empire. So once he crossed it, It was a blatant act of defiance towards the senate. Caesar has crossed the Alps, his mighty soul Great tumults pondering and the coming shock. 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. Original articles feature research on Greek and Hellenistic history, the Roman Republic and Empire as well as late antiquity. Answer Save. Generals commanding in Gaul were never to pass it. '7 Caesar admits that he used his army against the commonwealth in 49 because He would be assassinated in 44BC. 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- … 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. 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! 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. Today the phrase 'crossing the Rubicon' is used whenever somebody goes past the point of no return. Relevance. To cross the Rubicon is a metaphor which means to take an irrevocable step that commits one to a specific course. or "let the die be cast" in Greek. It covers all aspects of political, economic, religious and social life and deals with legal, archaeological, numismatic and epigraphical questions. After years of war in Britain and Gaul, Caesar had decided to become master of Rome. 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. Caesar believes the gods are on his side, encouraging him to proceed into Italy. To cross the Rubicon with an army on the way to Rome was rebellion and treason. You can unsubscribe at any time. Crossing the Rubicon led to a civil war which Caesar won, and he became dictator for life of the Roman Republic. The Rubicon is a small river in northern Italy, so why is crossing it considered such a significant thing to do? For terms and use, please refer to our Terms and Conditions 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!" 11 Answers. Thanks! 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. Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Read Online (Free) relies on page scans, which are not currently available to screen readers. You have successfully linked your account! The expression cross the Rubicon refers to a decision made by Julius Caesar. But what kind of die was Caesar casting and what decision was he making? “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. Having won the civil war – defeating the de facto leader of the Roman state, Pompey – Caesar named himself as the dictator of Rome. All Rights Reserved. On this day in history, 49 BC, Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with a legion of his soldiers, which was against Roman law. Drawing Info. You're now subscribed to our newsletter. Hence the Rubicon became, as it were, the visible sign and symbol of civil restriction to military power. Caesar himself does not mention the expression it in his Bellum Civile. By crossing the Rubicon with his armies Caesar effectively stated his intention to march on Rome and take his position by force. Check out using a credit card or bank account with. So once he crossed it, It was a blatant act of defiance towards the senate. A jeep model is named for his crossing the Rubicon River, and a calendar still in use—the Julian—takes its name from him. What does it mean to ‘cross the Rubicon’? [Caesar's expenditure of money at Rome.] But what did really happen that day and how much do we really know about the event? the act of doing so constituted civil war, and in fact one ensued. The expression means to make a difficult decision with irreversible consequences – in short, to pass the point of no return. 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. I, Gaius Caesar, in spite of such great deeds would have been condemned, had I not sought help from my army (hoc uoluerunt. This tiny stream would reveal Caesar's intentions and mark the point of no return. In 49 B.C., Julius Caesar was the governor of Gaul, which meant he had to give up his power in Rome. 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. To do so was treason. Why Caesar crossed the Rubicon is a question none other than Caesar himself answered: 'They wanted it so. Caesar knew he had enemies. 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. Franz Steiner is one of Germany's most prominent academic publishing houses. This Day In History: January 10, 49 BC. Why was Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon an important event? He thought he'd be killed once he entered Rome so he led his army into Rome instead. If he brought his veteran armies across the river Rubicon in northern Italy, the Republic would be in a state of civil war.