Nugget of Knowledge: Crossing the Rubicon phrase


Where's the Rubicon and why is crossing it so important?

(WYTV) – One Democratic politician remarked this week that President Donald Trump crossed the Rubicon when he made that phone call in July to the Ukrainian president.

Where’s the Rubicon and why is crossing it so important?

It’s a common expression, and here’s where it originated:

It goes back to before the birth of Christ.

Julius Caesar took his army across the Rubicon river in northern Italy in January 49 BC, starting the five-year Roman Civil War.

The Roman Senate had appointed Caesar governor over southern Gaul.

As his term ended, the Senate ordered Caesar to disband his army and return to Rome.

For Caesar, it would have most likely meant the end of his political career.

He was explicitly ordered not to bring his army across the Rubicon River, the northern boundary of Italy.

But Caesar did march his 13th legion across the shallow river, which the Roman government considered treason and a declaration of war on the Roman Senate.

As he crossed he yelled “alea iacta est,” the die is cast.

Caesar won the Civil War and was declared dictator for life, leading Rome from a Republic to an Empire that lasted 500 years.

Today, the phrase “crossing the Rubicon” is a metaphor that means to pass a point of no return.

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