"Irrevocably commit to a course of action, make a fateful and final decision."
The crossing of a small stream in northern Italy became one of ancient history's most pivotal events leading to the Roman Empire and the genesis of modern European culture. Roman law prohibited any Roman Army legion to cross the Rubicon River that was considered to mark the boundary between Italy and the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul in northern Italy. Born with unbridled political ambition, Julius Caesar manipulated his way to the position of consul of Rome in 59 BC. He was then named governor of Gaul where he amassed a personal fortune and exhibited his outstanding military skill in subduing the native Celtic and Germanic tribes.
His soaring popularity presented a threat to the power of the Senate in Rome. Accordingly, it called upon Caesar to resign his command and disband his army or risk being declared an "Enemy of the State". It was 49 BC when Caesar was staying in the northern Italian city of Ravenna and he was apparently still undecided as he approached the river. When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his army in January 49 BC, to make his way to Rome, he was at the point of no return; he was declaring war on Rome.
The phrase "crossing the Rubicon" has survived to refer to any people committing themselves irrevocably to a risky and revolutionary course of action.
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