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Crossing the Rhine. Black lines indicate detours made by Caesar’s troops. The Roman Empire started in 31 B.C.E. But the faction opposing Caesar immediately went against the spirit of this decision. He was explicitly ordered not to take his army across the Rubiconriver, which was at that time a norther… Most of the terrified senators were willing to grant the concessions Caesar was asking for to avoid war. Caesar advances south, easily taking the cities of Pisaurum, Fanum, and Ancona. Stung by Caesar’s affronts, the powerful aristocratic faction in the Senate—known as the optimates—were waiting to pounce on him when his consulship ended, when he would be left without official immunity and highly vulnerable to his enemies. B. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- Far from undermining Caesar’s confidence, Pompey’s deceitful maneuver only seemed to stiffen his resolve. The deadline for Caesar to lay down his command, March 50 B.C., came and went. He realized how important his decision was, especially since Rome had already undergone a civil dispute a few decades earlier. In the attempt to destroy Pompey and his extensive allies across the Roman world, Caesar was forced to cover astonishing distances, putting down a revolt in modern-day Marseille in France before routing Pompey’s loyalists in Spain at the Battle of Ilerda in June. Plutarch reports that he spent time with his friends "estimating the great evils of all mankind which would follow their passage of the river and the wide fame of it which they would leave to posterity. To cross the Rubicon is a metaphor which means to take an irrevocable step that commits one to a specific course. Pompey and the consuls prevented a vote on the proposal in the letter and passed a motion declaring Caesar a public enemy. As the year 49 B.C. Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon In one of the most iconic moments of Caesar’s biography, in 49 B.C.E. Just as it is today, once you've cast (or thrown) the dice, your fate is decided. He understood that civil war would most likely ensue between himself and the Roman nobility, led by his strongest rival and former ally: the brilliant military commander Pompey the Great. Caesar let them go free, knowing full well they would go back to Pompey—which they did. As his term of governorship ended, the Roman Senate ordered Caesar to disband his army and return to Rome. The plebeian tribunes supporting Caesar surround him, aware of the momentousness of the occasion, and plan their next movements. Caesar’s career was marked by this atmosphere of frenzied competition for power between nobles and populists. Today's history lesson involves the beginning of the large chapter in the career and life of Julius Caesar, Roman general, governor, politician, and patrician. Rome’s treasury was housed in the Temple of Saturn at the Forum; it was sacked by Caesar in 49 B.C. In 81 B.C. Julius Caesar Crossing The Rubicon. Caesar definitely debated for a while about what to do. He wanted to enter Rome itself at the head of an army. The river Rubicon was considered to be the dividing line between Italy and the rest of the Empire. Caesar believes the gods are on his side, encouraging him to proceed into Italy. On reaching the other bank, Caesar (in a blue toga) inspires his soldiers with a speech before continuing their march (right of center). and lasted until 476 C.E. “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. ", The Roman historian Plutarch reported that at this critical moment of decision Caesar declared in Greek and in a loud voice, "let the die be cast!" As Caesar debates whether to cross the Rubicon, an otherwordly figure appears, wearing a yellow tunic and playing a lute (left). Depicted on the back of an aureus minted in Gaul, Mark Antony was entrusted with the command of the left wing of Caesar’s army in major battles. Its significance to Rome lay in its location, marking the official border between Italy and Cisalpine Gaul, the region south of the Alps governed by Julius Caesar. A When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC, he expressed disrespect to the Roman Senate and started the war against it. Caesar and his soldiers follow the figure (left of center). On January 10th, 49 B.C., Gaius Julius Caesar uttered one of history’s most famous lines, Iacta alea est (sometimes written alea iacta est), after which he crossed the Rubicon river with his army and set the Roman Civil War in motion. What would have happened if the republican old guard that assassinated him had prevailed over Mark Antony, reinforced republican power, and steered the Roman world away from autocratic rule? Writing around a century and a half later, the historian Suetonius produced an account of this moment that reveals the legendary status the event had attained in the Roman mind. On January 10, 49 B.C., on the banks of the Rubicon River in southern Gaul (near the modern-day city of Ravenna), Julius Caesar and the soldiers of the 13th Legion waited and weighed their options. A die is simply one of a pair of dice. Little knowing she would become the last of the Ptolemaic monarchs who had ruled Egypt since the time of Alexander the Great, Cleopatra spent much of that same year as Caesar’s lover, sealing her reputation in the Roman world as a femme fatale who would later “ensnare” Mark Antony. This Day In History: January 10, 49 BC. Corfinium falls with the capture of three legions. Sulla was appointed dictator. Why did Julius Caesar cross the Rubicon? So now ... their scandalous liaison isn’t stepping behind the scenes ... but exploding into full-scale war!”. Awash with Gallic gold, he shrewdly targeted financially embarrassed senators who, in return for Caesar’s “generosity” in paying off their debts, declared themselves his unconditional allies. How did Julius Caesar motivate his troops to cross the Rubicon river and thus turning them against their own republic (becoming traitors)? Discussion/Question Just watched the Netflix documentary on Rome (season 2) which illustrates Julius Caesar's journey from a soldier becoming emperor of Rome. Background. The day before the crossing, Caesar acted as if nothing unusual was happening. no general was allowed to cross the Rubicon and enter Rome with there army( on pain of death) . N.S. How Julius Caesar Started a Big War by Crossing a Small Stream. To the ancient Romans, space was sacred, and the Rubicon River was … 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. Revealing his lifelong instinct for survival, however, Caesar cut a deal with Pompey and Crassus, enabling him to leave for Gaul to achieve the military glory that would, in turn, increase his grip on power. But his own men mutinied and handed him over to his enemy together with other senators. Then Caesar cried: ‘Take we the course which the signs of the gods and the false dealing of our foes point out. They reiterated to the Senate that since the military campaign was over, Caesar must disband his army, and a new governor of Gaul be elected to replace him. Writing later in The Civil Wars, Caesar recalled how he had been waiting for the Senate’s response for days “[to see] if matters could be brought to a peaceful end by any equitable act on the part of his enemies.” But he now realized there was no other way and started preparing for the final showdown. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. gold coin. Menander was one of Caesar's favorite dramatists. Even in Roman times, gambling games with dice were popular. if you crossed you must overthrow the gov and became the emperor or die. In this lesson, you will learn about Caesar's decision to cross the Rubicon. Therefore, by crossing the Rubicon into Gaul and starting the war, Caesar threw the dice, not only sealing his own political future but effectively ending the Roman Republic and beginning the Roman Empire. Caesar only delivered the death blow to Pompey’s stubborn followers in Spain a year later, in 45 B.C. The Parisii minted this second-century B.C. Caesar leads his army to Rome, shown here surrounded by strong walls (right), to take what is his by force. As the Alexandrian romance eventually faltered, war once again proved the constant in Caesar’s life. Caesar was coming off 10 years as a proconsul in Gaul where he was immune from prosecution as long as he held his proconsular imperium. 52, H. 1, 2003, pp. What Role Did Gaul Play in Ancient History? Social tensions created by the rapid expansion of Roman territory had plunged the political system into crisis for much of Caesar’s life. He again offered to resign his command at the same time as Pompey, but the Senate interpreted his proposal as a gesture of arrogance. In-text: (Julius Caesar Biography, 2016) Your Bibliography: Biography.com. Even before the dice land, your future has been foretold. This magnanimous and unexpected gesture was calculated to show the public that he was no tyrant, but rather a man on the side of the people and the republic, an image he would foster until the end of his life. If Caesar brought his troops from Gaul into Italy, he would be violating his role as a provincial authority and would essentially be declaring himself an enemy of the state and the Senate, fomenting civil war. In a particularly spectacular coup, he even managed to buy off the consul Lucius Aemilius Lepidus Paullus for a colossal down payment of some nine million denarii. 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. His troops approach Sulmo, which immediately surrenders. Shortly after the removal of his military rival, Caesar arrived in Egypt, where he patched up the dynastic struggle between Ptolemy and his sister, Cleopatra VII. As dictator, Caesar presided over the end of the Roman Republic and the start of the Roman Empire. Julius Caesar was a general of an army of the Republic, based in the north of what is now Northern Italy. A bust from the Capitoline Museums in Rome depicts Cicero, an ally of Pompey, who later developed a cordial relationship with Caesar. Pompey declared that he would send one if Caesar sent another. Eight years later, at the beginning of the year 50 B.C., Caesar had subjugated Gaul, to the great benefit of the republic, which had won valuable territory to defend it against invasions. Julius Caesar Biography 2016. Here he mulled the agonizing choice that lay before him. These included improving land and grain distribution, as well as the reorganization of local government across Italy. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/magazine/2017/03-04/julius-caesar-crossing-rubicon-rome.html. The following year, 48 B.C., Caesar dedicated to pursuing Pompey across Greece. Caesar’s combination of wealth and military clout struck fear and loathing into the hearts of senators back in Rome—not least his erstwhile ally, Pompey, who since Crassus’s death had been moving politically closer to the aristocratic optimates. But Caesar stood his ground in March 50 B.C. A jeep model is named for his crossing the Rubicon River, and a calendar still in use—the Julian—takes its name from him. Despite rejecting Antony’s offer, Caesar was assassinated a month later. Having successfully led his troops in the north, Julius Caesar became governor of Gaul, part of modern-day France. This decree was intended to protect Rome from military dictators who could impose their authority by taking Rome with their military forces. The tribunes Mark Antony and Quintus Cassius (a relative of the famous Cassius who later conspired to assassinate Caesar) exercised their veto, but it was rejected by the Senate. The motion was vetoed by Mark Antony, the newly appointed plebeian tribune and crucial ally of Caesar who would prove to play a fateful role in the last stages of his life. The choice facing Rome was either decades of more factionalism and political chaos, or accepting a strongman to impose reform, and set its affairs in order. Crossing to Egypt after his defeat at the Battle of Pharsalus, Pompey threw himself on the mercy of Ptolemy XIII, who immediately had him murdered. Tradition dictates that Ariminum’s forum was the scene for Julius Caesar’s famous speech to his soldiers when he uttered the words “alea jacta est”.In Rimini, a monument in Piazza Tre Martiri marks the place where Caesar allegedly harangued his troops. He would not stand down as governor of Gaul, as stipulated, but would instead stay on until the end of 49 B.C., proposing that in the summer of that year, he would stand for election to become consul for a second time. Julius Caesar believed the omens received from the gods and the unfairness of Rome's Republic necessitated violating an ancient Roman law that forbade any general from crossing the Rubicon … He sends another three cohorts to the coastal cities of Pisaurum, Fanum Fortunae, and Ancona. At the same time, he had at his back a trained, experienced, and fiercely loyal army. 67-94. According to Suetonius, Caesar quipped, "Even yet we may drawback, but once cross yon little bridge, and the whole issue is with the sword." WHY DID CAESAR CROSS THE RUBICON? 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. Caesar surprisingly accepted, perhaps to demonstrate a willingness to compromise. to pay for his wars against Pompey. His popularity, however, led to tensions with other powerful Roman leaders. So once he crossed it, It was a blatant act of defiance towards the senate. Huddled against the biting cold, many of the soldiers of the 13th Legion of the army of the Roman Republic had served under Caesar for much of the previous decade. The mysterious being snatches a trumpet from a Roman soldier and plays it as he crosses the river, followed by Caesar’s army. 0 0. Meanwhile, Pompey had convinced himself that his forces were stronger than Caesar’s and that his charismatic leadership would enable him to recruit as many men as he wished in Italy. By accusing him of corruption and abuses of power during his time in Gaul, they hoped to bring his political career to an end. By the act of crossing the Rubicon, he initiated a civil war, essentially making himself a criminal in the eyes of the Senate of Rome. 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!" His allies fled Italian towns and cities as Caesar approached. Around January 10, when he learned of the Senate’s decision, he ordered the 13th Legion to take up their riverside positions, exhorting them to defend the honor of their general whom they had served for nine years. Pompey and his new optimate allies hatched a plan to seize the moment to take Caesar to court. Under this brilliant, implacable leader, the new Roman Empire buried the old, aristocratic infighting to become a global power, whose astonishing legacy continues to shape the modern world. Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River when he invaded from Gaul. Caesar sends the tribune Mark Antony with five cohorts of the 13th Legion to occupy Arretium. Bust of Julius Caesar (sculptor unknown) An emergency briefly offered a way out of the stalemate: The Parthians were threatening Rome’s eastern borders and the Senate was asked to send two legions to defend the province of Syria. The Rubicon is, in reality, little more than a stream. After the fighting was ended in Gaul, Caesar was obliged to stand down from his position as governor, disband his army, and so lose the immunity his official position had given him. Fortune, it is you I follow. Caesar’s risky move in crossing the Rubicon surprised his opponents. Bill R. 1 decade ago. On that infamous March day the following year, he succumbed to the assassins’ knives. The conqueror of Gaul attended a public event in Ravenna and carefully examined plans for a gladiator school. or "let the die be cast" in Greek. In December, when the plebeian leader Curio persuaded the Senate to vote on the proposal for Caesar and Pompey to lay down their arms at the same time, 370 senators voted for it and just 22 against. Having returned to Rome, he continued implementing significant reforms in the year of life left to him. All rights reserved. “The apparition snatched a trumpet from one of them, rushed to the river, and sounding the war-note with mighty blast, strode to the opposite bank. But the main beneficiary of the wars was undoubtedly Caesar himself. Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River in 49 B.C., an action that marked the beginning of a Roman civil war and resulted in Caesar's undisputed mastery of Roman government. As Caesar advances with an ever growing army, Pompey abandons Capua for Brundisium. Many of these soldiers join up with Caesar. His enemies in Rome were planning to prosecute him for alleged (and in large part real) illegalities prior to going to Gaul and for grossly overstepping his authority while in Gaul. When Julius Caesar led his troops from Gaul in January of 49 B.C.E., he paused on the northern end of a bridge. Still unsure whether to advance, a man of extraordinary height and beauty appeared, clearly sent by the gods. Caesar even said he would stand down if he were allowed to keep just one legion and govern the province of Illyria, in the modern-day Balkans. Why does Caesar cross the Rubicon and start a civil war? A WELL-KNOWN war. If Caesar chose to cross the Rubicon, there would be no turning back. Upon Julius Caesar's death, his adopted son Augustus became Rome's first emperor. Faced with such obstinacy, his enemies in Rome scrambled to increase the pressure on the rogue governor. But when Julius Caesar decided to cross the Rubicon, he only brought one legion; why not his whole army? When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, he started a five-year Roman civil war. The crossing of a small stream in northern Italy became one of ancient history's most pivotal events. Caesar races to cut him off, but Pompey sails to the Greek shore with his troops in mid-March. 22. He moved some of his troops into the north of Italy, at the same time extending his influence in the corridors of power. +3 eddibear3a and 3 others learned from this answer 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. The Egyptian ruler evidently saw where the tide of Roman power was flowing. In this map, the white line shows Caesar’s invasion route through Italy in 49 B.C., while the green line shows Pompey’s route. From it sprang the Roman Empire and the genesis of modern European culture. Julius Caesar was one of Rome's most powerful and iconic rulers, but do you know how he seized control of Rome? At the war's end, Julius Caesar was declared dictator for life. opened, Caesar sent the Senate a letter from Ravenna, giving them his final word on the matter. They urged him to take command of the army and of as many additional troops as he wanted to recruit himself. They in turn swore to avenge the insults against him and the tribunes. No doubt Caesar hoped for many years of life to enact his reforms—but where he had defeated his enemies on the battlefield, he proved more vulnerable in the corridors of power. Website. On this day in history, 49 BC, Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with a legion of his soldiers, which was against Roman law. D. He hoped to aid Clodius’ gang in their war with the Milos gang. There had been many civil wars in the previous century but the one started by Caesar was to change Roman history forever. The Rubicon was the boundary between Italy and Gaul at the time.Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon … In the event, he was succeeded by his adopted son, Octavian, who consolidated the drift toward authoritarian leadership, later becoming the Emperor Augustus. From now on, war is our judge.”. Sulla defended the rights of Rome’s increasingly discredited noble rulers against the populares, the Senate faction who represented the interests of non-noble citizens clamoring for reform. He dug in at Corfinium. Caesar had been appointed to a governorship over a region that ranged from southern Gaul to Illyricum (but not Italy). The immediate result was Caesar’s consulship in 59 B.C., during which he sidelined the Senate and passed various laws aimed at winning him popular support. At the Rubico he reached the boundary for his imperium geographically and he reached the limits of his office term at the same time. France’s capital’s name comes from the wealthy Parisii tribe, against whom Caesar fought in Gaul. This day in history in 55 B.C.- Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River and starts a civil war in the Roman Republic. he allied with the general Pompey and another powerful politician, Marcus Licinius Crassus, so the three of them could dominate the republican system for their own benefit. Despite its appearance, crossing this humble river would have serious consequences. A chariot pulled by mules from a nearby bakery was waiting for him outside, and after a considerable delay in finding the exact position of his troops, he eventually managed to join them on the bank. Throughout that year, the brinkmanship between the two generals grew, and nerves stretched to breaking point. On this day, Julius Caesar decided to cross the Rubicon River with his 13th legion and head towards Rome. –– GR Stanton: "Why Did Caesar Cross the Rubicon? Today, the meaning of crossing the Rubicon refers to making a challenging decision that can have unpredictable consequences. Cingulum opens its gates to Caesar’s troops without any bloodshed. On January 10, 49 BC, commanding the Legio XIII, Caesar crossed the Rubicon River, the boundary between the province of Cisalpine Gaul to the north and Italy proper to the south. The mistake wasn't in letting the situation get that far, but in that they believed the Roman and Italian people would rally to defend the Republican system. Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus was the only one who fought back. In 55 BC Caesar was busy preparing for his invasion of Britain. Even so, negotiations went on until the very last moment. Pompey and his allies abandon Rome for Capua. So he made his decision to cross the river with his army and said the famous phrase “the die is cast” as there was no turning back. This bibliography was generated on Cite This For Me on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. on the banks of the Rubicon, Julius Caesar faced a critical choice. Crossing the Rubicon: In 49 BCE, Julius Caesar marched his army across the Rubicon River. When he was making this decision, Caesar was contemplating committing a heinous crime. After crossing the Rubicon into the Roman Republic near Ravenna in early January, Caesar marches his forces south to Ariminum. As he stood, he debated whether or not to cross the Rubicon, a river separating Cisalpine Gaul—the piece of land where Italy joins the mainland and at the time inhabited by Celts—from the Italian peninsula. Pompey’s garrison at Asculum leaves their post before the arrival of Caesar’s forces as they move down the coastline. C. Gnaeus Pompey and Rome were threatened by a dangerous revolt. If he brought his veteran armies across the river Rubicon in northern Italy, the Republic would be in a state of civil war. Despite the death of their captain, Pompey’s supporters had regrouped in order to avenge him, and Caesar was forced to buckle on his armor again, briefly returning to Rome before dealing a crushing blow against his enemies in modern-day Tunisia in 46 B.C. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. 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. On 10 January 49 BC, Roman general Julius Caesar defied an ultimatum set to him by the Senate. The statesman and orator Cicero vainly tried to find a peaceful solution to the conflict while a sense that the republic was becoming increasingly ungovernable took hold in the capital. 2016. Fearing for their lives, Mark Antony and Cassius fled Rome disguised as slaves and joined Caesar in the north. Julius Caesar's crossing the Rubicon river in January 49 BC precipitated the Roman Civil War, which ultimately led to Caesar's becoming dictator and the rise of the imperial era of Rome. During his youth, generals and politicians often exploited their military victories to take political control of the state. He thought he'd be killed once he entered Rome so he led his army into Rome instead. Source(s): https://shrinke.im/a0fty. Although he was breaking the law, Pompey accepted the mission. and then led his troops across the river. To cross the Rubicon is a metaphor which means to take an irrevocable step that commits one to a specific course. He expanded the borders of the Republic into modern France, Spain, and Britain, making him a popular leader.
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