Tuesday, August 16, 2005


History Snippet - Part I

Part I - The Die is Cast

In early 49BC, Julius Caesar lead his army to the banks of the river Rubicon.

The past few years had seen Caesar win victory after victory in Gaul where he had been appointed governor. Factions in the Senate were worried by Caesar's growing power, and were even more concerned about what he would do when he returned to Rome.

As governor of Gaul, Caesar was immune to prosecution. Unfortunately, Caesar's term was due to expire towards the end of 50BC. Caesar's plan was to obtain the Consulship which would renew his immunity. He needed special permission to run in absentia.

Unfortunately for Caesar, his former ally Pompey (the sole consul at the time), wasn't about to let that happen. With Pompey charge by the Senate to ensure Caesar lay down his arms, and the Senate refusing his attempts at a cease fire, Caesar had a hard choice to make. Either he walked away from his army and any chance at a public life, or he started a civil war.

Suetonius' account (XXXII) of Caesar's pause at the Rubicon gave me the idea for my honours topic (that is if I ever end up doing honours in history). He describes that while Caesar considered his options, a mysterious being appeared and snatched a trumpet from one of the soldiers. Signaling loudly, he marched across the river. Caesar, seeing it as a sign from the gods, declared "THE DIE IS CAST".

Further Reading:
The Twelve Caesars

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