Crossing the Rubicon

C.E. Stevens explains how, by crossing the Rubicon, Julius Caesar challenged the power of the Roman Senate, and opened the way for the foundation of the Roman Empire.

The Rubicon to the right of Cesena, at Pisciatello
The Rubicon to the right of Cesena, at Pisciatello

At least four alleged, episodes in ancient history have become commonplaces of ordinary language. One is fictitious: Alexander did not weep because there were no more worlds to conquer. Two are very doubtful: Alexander, if he did anything to the Gordian Knot, untied rather than cut it; and Nero, according to Tacitus, did not 'fiddle while Rome was burning.'; 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. 

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