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Gaius Julius Caesar

 

Rubicon noun
1. the river in northern Italy forming the southern boundary of Caesar's province of Cisalpine Gaul, by crossing which, in 49 BC, he began a civil war with Pompey.
Present name, Flumicino.
2. a boundary or limitation.
- phrase
3. pass (or cross) the Rubicon, to take a decisive, irrevocable step.

The Macquarie Dictionary, 3rd Edition 1998, THE MACQUARIE LIBRARY PTY LTD

 

The Twelve Caesars

by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus

translated by Robert Graves © 1957

The following excerpts are from Chapter I - Julius Caesar, afterwards deified.

29. ... Next Caesar offered to resign command of eight legions and quit Transalpine Gaul if he might keep two legions and Cisalpine Gaul, or at least Illyricum and one legion, until he became Consul.

30. Since the Senate refused to intervene on his behalf in a matter of such national importance, Caesar crossed into Cisalpine Gaul, where he held his regular assizes, and halted at Ravenna. He was resolved to invade Italy if force were used against the tribunes of the people who had vetoed the Senate's decree disbanding his army by a given date. Force was, in effect, used and the tribunes fled towards Cisalpine Gaul; which became Caesar's pretext for launching the Civil War.

31. Accordingly, when news reached him that the tribunes' veto had been disallowed, and that they had fled the City, he at once sent a few battalions ahead with all secrecy, and disarmed suspicion by himself attending a theatrical performance, inspecting the plans of a school of gladiators which he proposed to build, and dining as usual among a crowd of guests. But at dusk he borrowed a pair of mules from a bakery near Headquarters, harnessed them to a gig, and set off quietly with a few of his staff. ....

.... Caesar overtook his advanced guard at the river Rubicon, which formed the frontier between Gaul and Italy. Well aware how critical a decision confronted him, he turned to his staff, remarking: "We may still draw back but, once across that little bridge, we shall have to fight it out."

Suetonius: The Twelve Caesars, translated by Robert Graves, 1957, Penguin Classics.

 

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© Copyright Julie Peters 1999