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As dictator, Caesar presided over the end of the Roman Republic and the start of the Roman Empire. Caesar races to cut him off, but Pompey sails to the Greek shore with his troops in mid-March. This plunged the Roman world into civil war. 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. Caesar makes his camp in Apulia. The deadline for Caesar to lay down his command, March 50 B.C., came and went. Alarmed by his growing power, the Senate ordered Caesar to set aside his command. A die is simply one of a pair of dice. 21. 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. “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. Crossing the Rhine. They in turn swore to avenge the insults against him and the tribunes. Far from undermining Caesar’s confidence, Pompey’s deceitful maneuver only seemed to stiffen his resolve. They urged him to take command of the army and of as many additional troops as he wanted to recruit himself. And he did it with just 50,000 men. Gruen was writing his account of Roman politics from 78 to 49 B.C. Pompey and the consuls prevented a vote on the proposal in the letter and passed a motion declaring Caesar a public enemy. Even before the dice land, your future has been foretold. Why did Julius Caesar “cross the Rubicon” in 49 BCE? 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. Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon In one of the most iconic moments of Caesar’s biography, in 49 B.C.E. He moved some of his troops into the north of Italy, at the same time extending his influence in the corridors of power. "Let the die be cast" itself is an expression meaning roughly "let the game begin," and it comes from a play called Arrhephoros ("the Flute Girl"), a comedy written by the Greek playwright Menander in the 4th century B.C.E. Pompey and his allies abandon Rome for Capua. 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 sends another three cohorts to the coastal cities of Pisaurum, Fanum Fortunae, and Ancona. 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. 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. In 81 B.C. Social tensions created by the rapid expansion of Roman territory had plunged the political system into crisis for much of Caesar’s life. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. 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. gold coin. This Day In History: January 10, 49 BC. Pompey’s garrison at Asculum leaves their post before the arrival of Caesar’s forces as they move down the coastline. After crossing the Rubicon, Caesar advanced to Ariminum (modern-day Rimini), the first city outside his province. His popularity, however, led to tensions with other powerful Roman leaders. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. about twenty-five years ago, he took the common answer (which he disputed) to the above question to be that C. lulius Caesar could not afford to 0 0. Crossing the Rubicon: In 49 BCE, Julius Caesar marched his army across the Rubicon River. 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. If he brought his veteran armies across the river Rubicon in northern Italy, the Republic would be in a state of civil war. Caesar now had the backing of a loyal army who would follow him to victory or death. 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. But if he didn't bring his troops into Italy, Caesar would be forced to relinquish his command and likely be forced into exile, giving up his military glory and ending his political future. 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. To cross the Rubicon is a metaphor which means to take an irrevocable step that commits one to a specific course. A bust from the National Archaeological Museum in Naples depicts Julius Caesar, whose popularity skyrocketed after his conquest of Gaul, threatening the power of Rome’s nobility. On 10 January 49 BC, Roman general Julius Caesar defied an ultimatum set to him by the Senate. A. Pompey and the Senate tried to end his political and military career. Caesar definitely debated for a while about what to do. If you did it meant that you were going to overthrow the government/emperor. This day in history in 55 B.C.- Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River and starts a civil war in the Roman Republic. A false rumor spread that Caesar had set out from Gaul with four legions. The river Rubicon was considered to be the dividing line between Italy and the rest of the Empire. Why did Julius Caesar cross the Rubicon? and lasted until 476 C.E. What Role Did Gaul Play in Ancient History? 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. The crossing of a small stream in northern Italy became one of ancient history's most pivotal events. At the war's end, Julius Caesar was declared dictator for life. Then Caesar cried: ‘Take we the course which the signs of the gods and the false dealing of our foes point out. Rome’s treasury was housed in the Temple of Saturn at the Forum; it was sacked by Caesar in 49 B.C. What would have happened had Caesar not made that fateful river crossing five years previously? Faced with such obstinacy, his enemies in Rome scrambled to increase the pressure on the rogue governor. Bribery continued to be the most effective tool. Julius Caesar Biography 2016. The Egyptian ruler evidently saw where the tide of Roman power was flowing. 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. When Caesar crossed the Rubicon, the Senate finally realized that they had made a terrible mistake. * When E.S. He wanted to enter Rome itself at the head of an army. Bill R. 1 decade ago. Fortune, it is you I follow. Julius Caesar was a general of an army of the Republic, based in the north of what is now Northern Italy. The following year, 48 B.C., Caesar dedicated to pursuing Pompey across Greece. It was, quite simply, an act of war. The hostile atmosphere in the Senate convinced Caesar that he needed to defend himself militarily and politically. WHY DID CAESAR CROSS THE RUBICON? Suetonius tells of a miraculous event that occured as Caesar mulled over crossing the Rubicon, depicted in this 1494 painting by Francesco Granacci. Cingulum opens its gates to Caesar’s troops without any bloodshed. 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. Here he mulled the agonizing choice that lay before him. Upon Julius Caesar's death, his adopted son Augustus became Rome's first emperor. opened, Caesar sent the Senate a letter from Ravenna, giving them his final word on the matter. Having successfully led his troops in the north, Julius Caesar became governor of Gaul, part of modern-day France. 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? According to the law of the Roman Republic, any provincial governor leading troops across the border back into Italy would be declared a public enemy. So now ... their scandalous liaison isn’t stepping behind the scenes ... but exploding into full-scale war!”. Caesar’s risky move in crossing the Rubicon surprised his opponents. He again offered to resign his command at the same time as Pompey, but the Senate interpreted his proposal as a gesture of arrogance. 0 1. To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive. These included improving land and grain distribution, as well as the reorganization of local government across Italy. 2016. On this day, Julius Caesar decided to cross the Rubicon River with his 13th legion and head towards Rome. He was explicitly ordered not to take his army across the Rubiconriver, which was at that time a norther… 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. In 60 B.C. –– GR Stanton: "Why Did Caesar Cross the Rubicon? As the Alexandrian romance eventually faltered, war once again proved the constant in Caesar’s life. 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. These are the sources and citations used to research Why did Julius Caesar cross the Rubicon?. Website. Albert Einstein is supposed to have said: “Never memorize what you can look up in a book”. Source(s): https://shrinke.im/a0fty. Background. They sought out Pompey in the Forum and dramatically placed a sword in his hand, begging him to take command of Italy’s troops to save the republic. Fearing for their lives, Mark Antony and Cassius fled Rome disguised as slaves and joined Caesar in the north. Keeping his promise, Caesar handed over the 15th Legion, quartered in Cisalpine Gaul, only to find out that the Parthian threat had petered out and that both legions now lay firmly under the control of Pompey in Italy. How Julius Caesar Started a Big War by Crossing a Small Stream In 49 B.C. When he was making this decision, Caesar was contemplating committing a heinous crime. Pompey declared that he would send one if Caesar sent another. to pay for his wars against Pompey. According to the late first-century historian Plutarch, a contemporary of Suetonius: “When they said that if Caesar was heading to Rome they could not see what troops could withstand him, Pompey boastfully replied with a smile: ‘Legions will spring up anywhere I stamp on the ground in Italy.’”, Marcus Caelius Rufus, an aristocrat, summarized the situation in a letter to Cicero in the fall of that year: “The closer we come to this inevitable clash, the more apparent the danger. 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. Fully aware of the momentous nature of his decision, Caesar ignored the warning and began to march south on Rome. His troops approach Sulmo, which immediately surrenders. Black lines indicate detours made by Caesar’s troops. 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. Later, during dinner that night, he told his guests he would have to leave them for a moment. 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. Born around 100 B.C., Caesar’s boyhood was marked by the Social Wars, a series of struggles in which Rome’s Italian allies fought for the right to Roman citizenship and its privileges. Some of his troops are dispatched west to the city of Iguvium; these forces easily take the city. The day before the crossing, Caesar acted as if nothing unusual was happening. Caesar leads his army to Rome, shown here surrounded by strong walls (right), to take what is his by force. As Caesar debates whether to cross the Rubicon, an otherwordly figure appears, wearing a yellow tunic and playing a lute (left). Caesar advances south, easily taking the cities of Pisaurum, Fanum, and Ancona. Caesar was not the first person to openly violate the law of the republic. 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. But when Julius Caesar decided to cross the Rubicon, he only brought one legion; why not his whole army? In 44 B.C. In the event, he was succeeded by his adopted son, Octavian, who consolidated the drift toward authoritarian leadership, later becoming the Emperor Augustus. The Rubicon is, in reality, little more than a stream. 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. 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 rejecting Antony’s offer, Caesar was assassinated a month later. 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. On reaching the other bank, Caesar (in a blue toga) inspires his soldiers with a speech before continuing their march (right of center). 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. Even so, negotiations went on until the very last moment. 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. But his ambitions were not satisfied. 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. According to the poet Lucan, Caesar declared: “Here I abandon peace and desecrated law. Secretly, he had ordered his cohorts to proceed to the banks of the river and wait for him there. He was headed to Transalpine Gaul to begin serving as Governor. Important Events in the Life of Julius Caesar, The 8 Biggest Military Defeats Suffered by Ancient Rome, The Revolt of the Gauls From Caesar's Gallic Wars, Caesar's Role in the Collapse of the Roman Republic, Winners and Losers of Julius Caesar's Gallic War Battles, A Collection of Articles About Julius Caesar. 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. For the record, Julius Caesar not only did he win the battle, but in just two months, the future dictator managed to take over the whole of Italy with almost no resistance. 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! " 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. Caesar only delivered the death blow to Pompey’s stubborn followers in Spain a year later, in 45 B.C. 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 … https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/magazine/2017/03-04/julius-caesar-crossing-rubicon-rome.html. 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. Such as act was forbidden by law. Before Rome was an Empire, it was a Republic. 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. Namely, the Rubicon was a river in Italy south of which no Roman general was allowed to lead an army. Discussion/Question Just watched the Netflix documentary on Rome (season 2) which illustrates Julius Caesar's journey from a soldier becoming emperor of Rome. A bust from the Capitoline Museums in Rome depicts Cicero, an ally of Pompey, who later developed a cordial relationship with Caesar. Having returned to Rome, he continued implementing significant reforms in the year of life left to him. When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, he started a five-year Roman civil war. 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. But the main beneficiary of the wars was undoubtedly Caesar himself. Since crossing the Rubicon, Caesar and his legions had expelled Pompey and his troops from Italy. 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. Why does Caesar cross the Rubicon and start a civil war? and then led his troops across the river. He thought he'd be killed once he entered Rome so he led his army into Rome instead. As crossing the Rubicon with an army was prohibited, lest a returning general attempt a coup d'etat, that triggered the ensuing civil war between Caesar and Pompey. His allies fled Italian towns and cities as Caesar approached. Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River when he invaded from Gaul. Farewell to treaties. 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. After crossing the Rubicon into the Roman Republic near Ravenna in early January, Caesar marches his forces south to Ariminum. 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. In this lesson, you will learn about Caesar's decision to cross the Rubicon. 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. Although he was breaking the law, Pompey accepted the mission. N.S. Caesar was named an enemy of the state and told to come home and face the senate. Even in Roman times, gambling games with dice were popular. This bibliography was generated on Cite This For Me on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. 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. Just as it is today, once you've cast (or thrown) the dice, your fate is decided. Even then, resistance to the new order bubbled up in the following months. Today, the meaning of crossing the Rubicon refers to making a challenging decision that can have unpredictable consequences. 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.
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