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Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. of his province, he halted for a while, and revolving in his mind the importance Prior to the war, Caesar had served for eight years in the Gallic Wars. There had been many civil wars in the previous century but the one started by Caesar was to change Roman history forever. The historical records differ about the decisive comment Caesar that made on crossing the Rubicon: one report is Alea iacta est (usually translated as "The die is cast"). It began as a series of political and military confrontations, between Julius Caesar (100–44 BC), his political supporters (broadly known as Populares), and his legions, against the Optimates (or Boni), the politically conservative and socially traditionalist faction of the Roman Senate,[3] who were supported by Pompey (106–48 BC) and his legions.[4]. Domitius ignored Pompey's request believing he outnumbered Caesar three to one. To remain in Gaul meant forfeiting his power to his enemies in Rome. Indeed, for his Pontic triumph, that may well have been the label displayed above the spoils. He went on to tell them that they would all be discharged immediately. Caesar bluntly addressed them as "citizens", instead of "soldiers," a tacit indication that they had already discharged themselves by virtue of their disloyalty. The latter arrangement triggered the conspiracy leading to his assassination on the Ides of March in 44 BC. Belatedly, Pompey requested Domitius to retreat south to rendezvous with Pompey's forces. As Caesar lingered in Egypt, the situation quickly deteriorated. It was to no avail since Caesar quickly routed Pharnaces at the Battle of Zela (modern Zile in Turkey) with just a small detachment of cavalry. Caesar gave chase and defeated the last remnants of opposition in the Battle of Munda in March 45 BC. Caesar refused, and instead marched his army on Rome, which no Roman general was permitted to do by law. Caesar, with the help of Pompey and Crassus, evaded the Senate's decrees by legislation passed through the popular assemblies. Pompey escaped to Brundisium, there awaiting sea transport for his legions, to Epirus, in the Republic's eastern Greek provinces, expecting his influence to yield money and armies for a maritime blockade of Italy proper. Either he acquiesced to the Senate's command or he moved southward to confront Pompey and plunge the Roman Republic into a bloody civil war. Ashamed to demand money, the men began to call out for their discharge. How To Cite This Article: A secondary reason for Caesar's immediate desire for another consulship was that Caesar's 'imperium' or safety from prosecution was set to expire and his enemies in Rome had senatorial prosecutions awaiting him upon retirement as governor of Illyricum and Gaul. Caesar pursued Pompey to Brundisium, expecting restoration of their alliance of ten years earlier. Through that reverse psychology, Caesar re-enlisted four enthusiastic veteran legions to invade North Africa without spending a single sesterce. Either he acquiesced to the Senate's command or he moved southward to confront Pompey and plunge the Roman Republic into a bloody civil war. Caesar realized crossing the river was a legally-proscribed action forbidden to any army-leading general. Pharnaces himself fled quickly back to the Bosporus, where he managed to assemble a small force of Scythian and Sarmatian troops with which he was able to gain control of a few cities, but one of his former governors, Asandar, attacked his forces and killed him. Caesar and Cleopatra never married because Roman law prohibited a marriage with a non-Roman citizen. Caesar pursued the Pompeian army to Alexandria, where he camped and became involved with the Alexandrine Civil War between Ptolemy and his sister, wife and co-regent, Cleopatra VII. Julius Caesar pausing on the banks of the Rubicon. Caesar, however, had been reinforced by two more legions from Gaul (the eighth and the twelfth) and twenty-two cohorts of recruits (recruited by Curio) and in fact outnumbered Domitius five to three. Caesar feigned indignation and then allowed himself to be won over. A dramatic account of the fateful year leading to the ultimate crisis of the Roman Republic and the rise of Caesar’s autocracy When the Senate ordered Julius Caesar, conqueror of Gaul, to disband his troops, he instead marched his soldiers across the Rubicon River, in violation of Roman law. If he brought his veteran armies across the river Rubicon in northern Italy, the Republic would be in a state of civil war.    Duruy, Victor, History of Rome vol. At first, recognising the threat, he made offers of submission with the sole object of gaining time until Caesar's attention fell elsewhere. and he set forward on his journey as privately as Coming up with his troops on the banks of the Rubicon, which was the frontier It is also covered in the biographies of Plutarch. However, after sunset some mules from a near-by mill were put in his carriage, The lights went out. THE DIE IS NOW CAST! 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. The Optimates under Marcus Junius Brutus and Cicero surrendered after the battle, while others, including those under Cato the Younger and Metellus Scipio fought on. At Nicopolis Pharnaces had defeated what little Roman opposition the governor of Asia, Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus, could muster. Hi, I hope you can answer a question for me. of the step he meditated, he turned to those about him, saying: 'Still we Drawing Info. Perhaps as a result of Ptolemy's role in Pompey's murder, Caesar sided with Cleopatra and is reported to have wept at the sight of Pompey's head, which was offered to him by Ptolemy's chamberlain, Pothinus, as a gift. The optimates despised Caesar and his conquests (viewing much of his campaigning as unwarranted and illegal) and looked for every opportunity to strip him of his command. Caesar's victory was so swift and complete that in a letter to a friend in Rome, he famously said of the short war, "Veni, vidi, vici" ("I came, I saw, I conquered"). Caesar soon emerged as a champion of the common people, and advocated a variety of reforms. Caesar's own account of the Civil War makes no mention of the river crossing but simply states that he marched to Rimini, a town south of the Rubicon, with his army.[9]. Nevertheless, Pompey's sons Gnaeus Pompeius and Sextus Pompeius, together with Titus Labienus, Caesar's former propraetorian legate (legatus propraetore and second in command in the Gallic War, escaped to Hispania. Eventually, in March 49 BC, Pompey escaped and fled by sea to Epirus, leaving Caesar in complete command of Italy.[12]. After spending the first months of 47 BC in Egypt, Caesar went to Syria and then to Pontus to deal with Pharnaces II, Pompey's client king who had taken advantage of the civil war to attack the Roman-friendly Deiotarus and to make himself the ruler of Colchis and lesser Armenia. He and Cato committed suicide shortly after the battle. Caesar decides to challenge Proconsul Pompey and ignores the Roman Senate’s command to disband his troops. Fully aware of the momentous nature of his decision, Caesar ignored the warning and began to march south on Rome. Were it not for the support of my army they would have passed judgement upon me in spite of my achievements.’ (Caesar looking at the bodies of dead senators after Pharsalus) By 50 the mood in Rome was increasingly tense. Today the phrase 'crossing the Rubicon' is used whenever somebody goes past the point of no return. Moreover, Caesar loyalists, the tribunes Mark Antony and Quintus Cassius Longinus, vetoed the bill and were quickly expelled from the Senate. In 52 BC, at the end of the First Triumvirate, the Roman Senate supported Pompey as sole consul; meanwhile, Caesar had become a military hero and champion of the people. That night Anthony, Cassius, Curio and Cealius Rufus fled from Rome and headed north to join Caesar.[8]. An ancient Roman law forbade any general from crossing the Rubicon River and entering Italy proper with a standing army. Meanwhile, the aristocrats, including Metellus Scipio and Cato the Younger, joined Pompey there and left a rear guard at Capua. The political situation is discussed in depth in the ancient histories of Appian and Cassius Dio. Offended, the Senate demanded for him to disband his army immediately, or he would be declared an enemy of the people. Brave, cunning, inspiring, and charismatic – by rights, Julius Caesar should have been the most glorious political celebrity in … When Caesar approached the speaker's dais, a hush fell over the mutinous soldiers. Caesar quickly gained a significant victory at the Battle of Thapsus in 46 BC over the forces of Metellus Scipio, Cato the Younger and Juba, who all committed suicide. scanty retinue. From Brundisium, Caesar crossed the Strait of Otranto with seven legions to the Gulf of Valona (not Palaesta in Epirus [modern Palase/Dhermi, Albania], as reported by Lucan),[13] prompting Pompey to consider three courses of action: (i) to make an alliance with the King of Parthia, an erstwhile ally, far to the east; (ii) to invade Italy with his superior navy and/or (iii) to force a decisive battle with Caesar. An ancient Roman law forbade any general from crossing the Rubicon River and entering Italy proper with a standing army. Pompey defeated Caesar in 48 BC at the Battle of Dyrrhachium, but was himself defeated much more decisively at the Battle of Pharsalus. He lost his way and wandered about a ', Accordingly he marched his army over the river; [then] he showed them the tribunes of the Plebs, who on being driven from Rome had come to meet him, and in the presence of that assembly, called on the troops to pledge him their fidelity; tears springing to his eyes [as he spoke] and his garments rent from his bosom.". The thirty-one cohorts, however, were made to swear a new oath of allegiance to Caesar and were eventually sent to Sicily under the command of Asinius Pollio. Nevertheless, the extremely-rapid approach of Caesar in person forced Pharnaces to turn his attention back to the Romans. The soldiers' resistance collapsed. The decision robbed the Rubicon of its importance, and the name gradually disappeared from the local toponymy. The general population, which regarded Caesar as a hero, approved of his actions. With deliberate clemency, Caesar released Domitius and the other senators with him and even returned 6,000,000 sesterces that Domitius had had to pay his troops. , chapter 8", Lewis E 83 Historia belli civilis inter Caesarem et Pompeium at OPenn, Wars of the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Caesar%27s_Civil_War&oldid=991631716, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from June 2018, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, March 9, Caesar's advance against Pompeian forces in, July 30, Caesar surrounded Afranius and Petreius's army in, August 2, Pompeians in Ilerda surrendered to Caesar, September 6, Massilia surrendered to Caesar, coming back from Hispania, October, Caesar appointed Dictator in Rome; presides over his own election as consul and resigns after eleven days. V (1883); Suetonius "Life of Julius Caesar" in Davis, William Stearns, Readings in Ancient History (1912). After several months, Caesar finally arrived to address the legions in person. Taking advantage of Pompey's absence from the Italian mainland, Caesar marched west to Hispania. It was reported that Caesar dined with Sallust, Hirtius, Oppius, Lucius Balbus and Sulpicus Rufus on the night after his famous crossing into Italy January 10. Knowing that he hoped to become consul when his governorship expired, the Senate, politically fearful of him, ordered him to resign his command of his army. Crossing the Rubicon: In 49 BCE, Julius Caesar marched his army across the Rubicon River. He had also taken the city of Amisus, which was a Roman ally; made all the boys eunuchs and sold the inhabitants to slave traders. 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. At this Caesar cried out, 'Let us go where the omens of the Gods and the crimes of our enemies summon us! ", However, after sunset some mules from a near-by mill were put in his carriage, Crossing the Rubicon ‘They wanted it. Crossing the Rubicon After Caesar spent 51 BC and the better part of 50 BC touring his newly conquered province of Gaul, political chaos was developing back in Rome. This panel shows an episode from the life of Julius Caesar, narrated in Suetonius’ Lives of the twelve Caesars , retelling the crossing of the Rubicon by Cesar and his troupes. Caesar knew that he needed the legions to deal with Pompey's supporters in North Africa since the latter had mustered 14 legions. That made Caesar think that he would be prosecuted and rendered politically marginal if he entered Rome without consular immunity or his army. They crowded the dais and begged to be taken to North Africa. As the Senate's chosen commander and with the backing of at least one of the current consuls, Pompey commanded legitimacy, but Caesar's military crossing of the Rubicon rendered him a de jure enemy of the Senate and the people of Rome. This tiny stream would reveal Caesar's intentions and mark the point of no return. Crossing the Rubicon: Caesar's Decision and the Fate of Rome - Kindle edition by Fezzi, Luca. 11 Nov 2019. "Julius Caesar Crosses the Rubicon, 49 BC," EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2002). His position gave him access to privileged imperial documents, correspondence and diaries upon which he based his accounts. Buy Crossing the Rubicon: Caesar's Decision and the Fate of Rome by Luca Fezzi (ISBN: 9780300241457) from Amazon's Book Store. He escaped to Capua with those politicians who supported him, the aristocratic Optimates and the regnant consuls. To do so was treason. Within a week of passing the consultum ultimum (declaring a state of emergency and outlawing Caesar) news reached Rome that Caesar had crossed the Rubicon (10 January) and had taken the Italian town of Ariminum (12 January). Crossing The Rubicon, Literally – Caesar Sparks War In 49 BC. The legions were waiting for their discharges and the bonus pay that Caesar had promised them before the Battle of Pharsalus. In Caesar's own account of the war, de bello ciuili, there are numerous indications as to what annoyed him greatly in this period. Lesson Summary In the 60's and 50's B.C., Julius Caesar was a part of a political alliance called the First Triumvirate. His term was later extended for another five years. He asked the troops what they wanted with his cold voice. Specially created by his Senate enemies, that position was meant to occupy him without giving him the command of armies or garnering him wealth and fame. 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