On this day in 49 BC Julius Caesar and his army crossed the Rubicon (it was illegal for a general to bring an army into Italy – the river Rubicon in Northern Italy was the boundary line).
Fresh from his conquests in Germany, Gaul and Britain, Caesar refused the senate’s order to resign his military commission. The resulting civil war left him victorious and he assumed control of the state, bringing in a number of reforms.
However his enemies were plotting and on the Ides of March in 44 BC he was assassinated in the Senate and war followed again, resulting in the rise of his nominated heir Octavian, who became the first emperor, taking the name Augustus. Besides being a brilliant general and a skilled politician, Caesar left his own written accounts of his campaigns.
Here is a poem by Kipling, the poet of a later empire:
Cities and Thrones and Powers
Stand in Time’s eye,
Almost as long as flowers,
Which daily die:
But, as new buds put forth
To glad new men,
Out of the spent and unconsidered Earth,
The Cities rise again.
So Time that is o’er-kind
To all that be,
Ordains us e’en as blind,
As bold as she:
That in our very death,
And burial sure,
Shadow to shadow, well persuaded, saith,
“See how our works endure!”
Today I marvel at the fame of a man whose name became synonymous with King. I am grateful to be anonymous in the great web of history.