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. To cross the Rubicon is a metaphor which means to take an irrevocable step that commits one to a specific course. Corfinium falls with the capture of three legions. 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. 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 He wanted to enter Rome itself at the head of an army. Caesar races to cut him off, but Pompey sails to the Greek shore with his troops in mid-March. 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. and then led his troops across the river. 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. 21. WHY DID CAESAR CROSS THE RUBICON? Pompey and the consuls prevented a vote on the proposal in the letter and passed a motion declaring Caesar a public enemy. Fully aware of the momentous nature of his decision, Caesar ignored the warning and began to march south on Rome. According to Suetonius, Caesar quipped, "Even yet we may drawback, but once cross yon little bridge, and the whole issue is with the sword." It was, quite simply, an act of war. 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. Caesar let them go free, knowing full well they would go back to Pompey—which they did. France’s capital’s name comes from the wealthy Parisii tribe, against whom Caesar fought in Gaul. These are the sources and citations used to research Why did Julius Caesar cross the Rubicon?. 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. Julius Caesar Crossing The Rubicon. Caesar had been appointed to a governorship over a region that ranged from southern Gaul to Illyricum (but not Italy). If he brought his veteran armies across the river Rubicon in northern Italy, the Republic would be in a state of civil war. In the event, he was succeeded by his adopted son, Octavian, who consolidated the drift toward authoritarian leadership, later becoming the Emperor Augustus. The conqueror of Gaul attended a public event in Ravenna and carefully examined plans for a gladiator school. Throughout that year, the brinkmanship between the two generals grew, and nerves stretched to breaking point. 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. 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. As dictator, Caesar presided over the end of the Roman Republic and the start of the Roman Empire. These included improving land and grain distribution, as well as the reorganization of local government across Italy. A. Pompey and the Senate tried to end his political and military career. The hostile atmosphere in the Senate convinced Caesar that he needed to defend himself militarily and politically. The deadline for Caesar to lay down his command, March 50 B.C., came and went. Suetonius tells of a miraculous event that occured as Caesar mulled over crossing the Rubicon, depicted in this 1494 painting by Francesco Granacci. 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. Caesar had no intention of obeying the Senate, and he knew perfectly well what the consequences of his insubordination would be. The Parisii minted this second-century B.C. 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. If Caesar chose to cross the Rubicon, there would be no turning back. But Julius Caesar did, in fact, 'cross the Rubicon,'; even though we cannot be certain which streamlet between Ravenna and Rimini once bore that name. 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. 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. Gruen was writing his account of Roman politics from 78 to 49 B.C. 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. Even in Roman times, gambling games with dice were popular. Upon Julius Caesar's death, his adopted son Augustus became Rome's first emperor. His allies fled Italian towns and cities as Caesar approached. But the main beneficiary of the wars was undoubtedly Caesar himself. Bill R. 1 decade ago. This Day In History: January 10, 49 BC. 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. Fortune, it is you I follow. Source(s): Having successfully led his troops in the north, Julius Caesar became governor of Gaul, part of modern-day France. 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. 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. 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. Alarmed by his growing power, the Senate ordered Caesar to set aside his command. In 81 B.C. How Julius Caesar Started a Big War by Crossing a Small Stream. A WELL-KNOWN war. 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. 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. Caesar leads his army to Rome, shown here surrounded by strong walls (right), to take what is his by force. 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. Faced with such obstinacy, his enemies in Rome scrambled to increase the pressure on the rogue governor. The Senate met again and passed a decree calling on the consuls to defend Rome against any attack. To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive. According to the poet Lucan, Caesar declared: “Here I abandon peace and desecrated law. He dug in at Corfinium. His popularity, however, led to tensions with other powerful Roman leaders. Cingulum opens its gates to Caesar’s troops without any bloodshed. He moved some of his troops into the north of Italy, at the same time extending his influence in the corridors of power. When Caesar crossed the Rubicon, the Senate finally realized that they had made a terrible mistake. Why does Caesar cross the Rubicon and start a civil war? Julius Caesar Biography 2016. 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. 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. 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. Website. On reaching the other bank, Caesar (in a blue toga) inspires his soldiers with a speech before continuing their march (right of center). Background. 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. Far from undermining Caesar’s confidence, Pompey’s deceitful maneuver only seemed to stiffen his resolve. 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. Caesar definitely debated for a while about what to do. Crossing the Rhine. They urged him to take command of the army and of as many additional troops as he wanted to recruit himself. The Roman Empire started in 31 B.C.E. “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. What Role Did Gaul Play in Ancient History? At the war's end, Julius Caesar was declared dictator for life. From now on, war is our judge.”. His troops approach Sulmo, which immediately surrenders. Here he mulled the agonizing choice that lay before him. Since crossing the Rubicon, Caesar and his legions had expelled Pompey and his troops from Italy. Pompey judged it unwise to fight Caesar in Italy and decided to withdraw to Greece and the east, where he was able to recruit a well-trained army.

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