Caesar's early success as a military general had reached a crescendo with his appointment to the governorship of southern Gaul and Illyricum. When his term came to a close, the Roman Senate ordered Caesar to disband his legion and return to Rome, specifically ordering him not to bring his army across the Rubicon river which was then the northern boundary of Italy.
Caesar, as history knows, defied this order. As he took his legion across the Rubicon in 49BC (possibly 10 January of that year) he uttered the famous phrase "alea iacta est" meaning "the die has been cast." It sure had been - and it would roll in Caesar's favor.
Crossing the Rubicon led to a civil war which Caesar won, and he became dictator for life of the Roman Republic. He would be assassinated in 44BC.
Today the phrase 'crossing the Rubicon' is used whenever somebody goes past the point of no return.
Location drawn: Rubicon, Italy, Roman Republic
Source: 19th century publication
- 0049-01-10 BC Julius Caesar defies the Roman Senate and crosses the Rubicon, uttering "alea iacta est" (the die is cast), signaling the start of civil war which would lead to his appointment as Roman dictator for life
Roman Military Commander and Statesman