Caesar crossing the Rubicon

(ORDO NEWS) — In 50 B.C. e. The Senate, dominated by Gnaeus Pompey the Great, ordered Gaius Julius Caesar to disband the army , return to Rome, and forbade him from running for a second consulship.

These instructions were clearly dictated by the desire to belittle the political and military role of Caesar.

With the death of Marcus Licinius Crassus in 53 BC. e. the triumvirate ceased to function. Caesar was afraid that the Senate would start a prosecution against him, and Pompey would do the judges a favor by accusing him of treachery and insubordination.

January 7, 49 B.C. e. The Senate ordered Julius Caesar to place his army at the disposal of the new governor of Gaul. Caesar learned about this while in Ravenna.

The Rubicon River was recognized by the Senate as the boundary separating Cisalpine Gaul and Italy, which was under the rule of Rome and the allies.

This border ran in the northeast; the northwestern border was the wider river Arno, flowing from the Apennines to the Tyrrhenian Sea.

According to Roman law, provincial governors were officials with an empire (the right to command an army) within their provinces. Thus, they could not control their forces outside their sphere of influence.

Roman law allowed only consuls and praetors to have empires in Italy. If some official (general, provincial governor, etc.) did not have special powers to enter Italian lands with an army, then he first had to dismiss his people.

A person who did not comply with this law and entered Italy at the head of an army was automatically deprived of the empire and sentenced to death. In addition, soldiers who, without official permission, obeyed such a commander, were also subject to the death penalty.

Caesar had to choose between submitting to the will of the Senate and public humiliation, or defiance and starting a rebellion. As you know, Caesar chose the latter and decided to fight with political opponents.

Caesar crossing the Rubicon 2

January 10 or 11, 49 B.C. e. Caesar at the head of the army reached the city of Rimini on the Adriatic coast. To secure a passage for himself and his people through the Apennines, he crossed the Rubicon, thereby starting a civil war.

Crossing the Rubicon, Caesar uttered the famous words: Alea iacta est! (“The die is cast!” or literally “Dice in action!”). The place where Caesar probably crossed the river is the current bridge in the city of Savignano in Italy.

Caesar crossed the Rubicon at the head of one legion – Legio XIII Gemina Pia Fidelis. The speed and determination of Caesar forced Pompey, the consuls C.

Claudius Marcellus and L. Cornelius Lentulus Cursus and part of the Senate to leave Rome. Caesar’s actions played an extremely important role in the fall of the republic.


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