To Cross the Rubricon Part 5
Caesar's successes in Gaul worried many senators in Rome. They feared that Caesar was becoming too powerful. His army was twice as large as the one Sulla had returned with.
Even though he had been successful, they persuaded the rest of the Senate to declare Caesar a public enemy. The Senate decided to ordered Caesar to return to Rome without his army.
But Caesar believed that if he did, he would be killed. Instead he decided to lead his army to Rome.
In January 49 B.C., Caesar was told of the decree of the Senate. He had only one legion with him, but leaving orders for the others to follow, he at once began to march toward the Rubicon.
The Rubicon was the stream which divided his province from Italy. Caesar knew that if he crossed the stream with his army, it would be a declaration that he had determined on war.
So momentous was the decision, that as Cæsar drew near to the Rubicon he hesitated. Looking down upon the stream, he stood for a time deep in thought, while his soldiers watched him anxiously from the distance.
On January 11, 49 B.C., Caesar and his army crossed the Rubicon River, which divided Northern Italy from the rest of Italy.
Since it was treason, a crime against Rome, for a general to leave his assigned province and bring his army to Rome, this was a serious action. Caesar knew he would be challenged, and that he must win or die.
The senators sent an army, led by Pompey, to stop Caesar. That meant civil war! It lasted for 3 years.
During this time Pompeyescaped to Egypt for help. While there he was murdered by his own guards. They had been paid off by the Egyptian eunuch Pothinus, who was running the country for the twelve year old pharaoh, Ptolemy XIII.
Caesararrived with 4000 soldiers in pursuit of Pompey. Pothinus greeted him with the head of Pompey as a gift.
Instead of rejoicing at the sight of this ghastly token, he burst into tears.