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The Rubicon ( la, Rubico; it, Rubicone ; rgn, Rubicôn ) is a shallow
river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of wate ...

river
in northeastern
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
, just north of
Rimini Rimini ( , ; rgn, Rémin; la, Ariminum) is a city in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy and capital city of the Province of Rimini. It sprawls along the Adriatic Sea, on the coast between the rivers Marecchia (the ancient ''Ariminus ...

Rimini
. It was known as Fiumicino until 1933, when it was identified with the ancient river Rubicon,
famously crossed
famously crossed
by
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
in 49 BC. The river flows for around from the
Apennine Mountains The Apennines or Apennine Mountains (; grc-gre, links=no, Ἀπέννινα ὄρη or Ἀπέννινον ὄρος; la, Appenninus or  – a singular with plural meaning;''Apenninus'' (Greek or ) has the form of an adjective, which wou ...
to the
Adriatic Sea The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkans. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto (where it connects to the Ionian Sea) to the northwest ...

Adriatic Sea
through the south of the
Emilia-Romagna Emilia-Romagna (, , both also ; ; egl, Emégglia-Rumâgna or ''Emîlia-Rumâgna''; rgn, Emélia-Rumâgna) is one of the 20 Regions of Italy, administrative regions of Italy, situated in the north of the country, comprising the historical regions ...

Emilia-Romagna
region, between the towns of
Rimini Rimini ( , ; rgn, Rémin; la, Ariminum) is a city in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy and capital city of the Province of Rimini. It sprawls along the Adriatic Sea, on the coast between the rivers Marecchia (the ancient ''Ariminus ...

Rimini
and
Cesena Cesena (; rgn, Cisêna) is a city and ''comune'' in the Emilia-Romagna region, served by Autostrada A14 (Italy), Autostrada A14, and located near the Apennine Mountains, about from the Adriatic Sea. The total population is 97,137. History ...

Cesena
.


History

The Latin word ' comes from the adjective ', meaning "red." The river was so named because its waters are colored red by iron deposits in the riverbed. During the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
, the Rubicon marked the boundary between the
Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire. Each province was ruled ...
of
Cisalpine Gaul Cisalpine Gaul ( la, Gallia Cisalpina, also called ''Gallia Citerior'' or ''Gallia Togata'') was the part of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Ital ...
and
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
proper, controlled directly by Rome and its ''
socii The ''socii'' ( in English) or ''foederati ''Foederati'' (, singular: ''foederatus'' ) were peoples and cities bound by a treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law Internationa ...
'' (allies), to the south. On the north-western side, the border was marked by the river
Arno The Arno is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reach ...

Arno
, a much wider and more important waterway, which flows westward from the Apennine Mountains (the Arno and the Rubicon rise not far from each other) into the
Tyrrhenian Sea The Tyrrhenian Sea (; it, Mar Tirreno , french: Mer Tyrrhénienne , sc, Mare Tirrenu, co, Mari Tirrenu, scn, Mari Tirrenu, nap, Mare Tirreno) is part of the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by ...
. In 49 BC, perhaps on January 10,
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
led a single
legion Legion may refer to: Military * Roman legion, the basic military unit of the ancient Roman army * Spanish Legion, an elite military unit within the Spanish Army * Legion of the United States, a reorganization of the United States Army from 179 ...

legion
,
Legio XIII Gemina , in English the 13th Twin Legion was a legion Legion may refer to: Military * Roman legion The Roman legion ( la, legiō, ) was the largest military unit of the Roman army The Roman army (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical la ...
, south over the Rubicon from Cisalpine Gaul to Italy to make his way to Rome. In doing so, he deliberately broke the law limiting his ''
imperium In ancient Rome, ''imperium'' was a form of authority held by a Roman citizenship, citizen to control a military or governmental entity. It is distinct from ''auctoritas'' and ''potestas'', different and generally inferior types of power in t ...

imperium
'', making armed conflict inevitable.
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly known as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historianRoman historiography stretches back to at least the 3rd century BC and was indebted to earlier Greek historiography. The Romans ...

Suetonius
depicts Caesar as undecided as he approached the river, and attributes the crossing to a supernatural apparition. It was reported that Caesar dined with
Sallust Gaius Sallustius Crispus, usually anglicised Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modifying foreign words, names, and phrases to make them easier to spell, prono ...

Sallust
,
Hirtius Aulus Hirtius (; – 43 BC) was Roman consul, consul of the Roman Republic in 43 BC and a writer on military subjects. He was killed during his consulship in battle against Mark Antony at the Battle of Mutina. Biography He was a Legatus, legate ...
,
Gaius Oppius Gaius Oppius was an intimate friend of Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th ...
, Lucius Cornelius Balbus, and
Servius Sulpicius Rufus Servius Sulpicius Rufus (c. 105 BC – 43 BC), was a Roman orator and jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholarnot necessarily with a f ...
on the night after his crossing. According to Suetonius, Caesar uttered the famous phrase ''
alea iacta est ("The die Die, as a verb, refers to death, the cessation of life. Die may also refer to: Games * Die, singular of dice, small throwable objects used for producing random numbers Manufacturing * Die (integrated circuit), a rectangular piece o ...
'' ("the
die Die, as a verb, refers to death, the cessation of life. Die may also refer to: Games * Die, singular of dice, small throwable objects used for producing random numbers Manufacturing * Die (integrated circuit), a rectangular piece of a semiconduct ...

die
is cast") upon crossing the Rubicon, signifying that his action was irreversible. The phrase "crossing the Rubicon" is now used to refer to committing irrevocably to a grave course of action, similar to the modern phrase "passing the
point of no return The point of no return (PNR or PONR) is the point beyond which one must continue on one's current course of action because turning back is dangerous, physically impossible or difficult, or prohibitively expensive. The point of no return can be a ...
." The presence of Caesar and his legion in Italy forced
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization f ...
, the
consuls A consul is an official representative of the government of one Sovereign state, state in the territory of another, normally acting to assist and protect the citizens of the consul's own country, as well as to facilitate trade and friendship be ...
, and a large part of the senate to flee Rome. Caesar's victory in the
subsequent civil war
subsequent civil war
ensured that he would never be punished for his actions. After Caesar's crossing, the Rubicon was a geographical feature of note until about 42 BC, when
Octavian Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor, reigning from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. His status as the founder of the Roman Principate (the first phase of the Roman Empire) has consolidated ...

Octavian
merged the Province of
Cisalpine Gaul Cisalpine Gaul ( la, Gallia Cisalpina, also called ''Gallia Citerior'' or ''Gallia Togata'') was the part of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Ital ...
into
Italia Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Alps and List of islands of Italy, several islands surrounding it, whose ...
and the river ceased to be the extreme northern border of Italy. The decision robbed the Rubicon of its importance, and the name gradually disappeared from the local toponymy. After the
fall of the Western Roman Empire The fall of the Western Roman Empire (also called the fall of the Roman Empire or the fall of Rome) was the loss of central political control in the Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Ro ...
, and during the first centuries of the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, the coastal plain between
Ravenna Ravenna ( , , also ; rgn, Ravèna) is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna The province of Ravenna ( it, provincia di Ravenna; ) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, admin ...

Ravenna
and
Rimini Rimini ( , ; rgn, Rémin; la, Ariminum) is a city in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy and capital city of the Province of Rimini. It sprawls along the Adriatic Sea, on the coast between the rivers Marecchia (the ancient ''Ariminus ...

Rimini
was flooded many times. The Rubicon, like other small rivers of the region, often changed its course during this period. For this reason, and to supply fields with water after the revival of agriculture in the
late Middle Ages The Late Middle Ages or Late Medieval Period was the period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in musical com ...
, during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, hydraulic works were built to prevent other floods and to regulate streams. As a result of this work, these rivers started to flow in straight courses, as they do today.


Identification

With the revival during the fifteenth century of interest in the topography of ancient Roman Italy, the matter of identifying the Rubicon in the contemporary landscape became a topic of debate among
Renaissance humanist Renaissance humanism was a revival in the study of classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may ref ...
s. To support the claim of the Pisciatello, a spurious inscription forbidding the passage of an army in the name of the Roman people and Senate, the so-called ''Sanctio'', was placed by a bridge on that river. The
Quattrocento The cultural and artistic events of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Alps and List of islands of ...
humanist
Flavio Biondo Flavio Biondo (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in rela ...

Flavio Biondo
was deceived by it; the actual inscription is conserved in the Museo Archeologico, Cesena. As the centuries went by, several rivers of the Adriatic coast between Ravenna and Rimini have at times been said to correspond to the ancient Rubicon. The ''
Via Aemilia The ( it, Via Emilia; en, Aemilian Way) was a trunk Roman road Roman roads ( la, viae Romanae ; singular: ; meaning "Roman way") were physical infrastructure vital to the maintenance and development of the Roman state, and were built fro ...
'' (modern SS 9) still follows its original Roman course as it runs between the hills and the plain; it would have been the obvious course to follow as it was the only major Roman road east of the
Apennine Mountains The Apennines or Apennine Mountains (; grc-gre, links=no, Ἀπέννινα ὄρη or Ἀπέννινον ὄρος; la, Appenninus or  – a singular with plural meaning;''Apenninus'' (Greek or ) has the form of an adjective, which wou ...
leading to and from the
Po Valley The Po Valley, Po Plain, Plain of the Po, or Padan Plain ( it, Pianura Padana , or ''Val Padana'') is a major geographical feature of Northern Italy Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none, it, Alta Italia, ...
. Attempts to deduce the original course of the Rubicon can be made only by studying written documents and other archaeological evidence such as Roman milestones, which indicate the distance between the ancient river and the nearest Roman towns. The mile zero of a
Roman road Roman roads ( la, viae Romanae ; singular: ; meaning "Roman way") were physical infrastructure vital to the maintenance and development of the Roman state, and were built from about 300 BC through the expansion and consolidation of the Roman Re ...

Roman road
, from which distances were counted, was always the crossing between the
Cardo Cardo was the Latin name (plural ''cardines'') given to a north-south street in Ancient Roman In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the ...

Cardo
and the
Decumanus
Decumanus
, the two principal streets in every Roman town, running north–south and east–west respectively. In a section of the
Tabula Peutingeriana ' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") ...

Tabula Peutingeriana
, an ancient document showing the network of Roman roads, a river in northeastern Italy labeled "''fl. Rubicu''" is shown at a position 12
Roman miles The mile, sometimes the international mile or statute mile to distinguish it from other miles, is a British imperial unit and US customary unit United States customary units (U.S. customary units) are a system of measurements commonly u ...
() north of Rimini along the coastline; this is the distance between Rimini and a place called "Ad Confluentes," drawn west of the Rubicon, on the Via Aemilia. However, the river-bed shape observed in Pisciatello and the Rubicon river in the present day, well below Roman-age soil layers, is likely to indicate that any possible course modification of rivers could have occurred only very close to the coastline, and therefore only slight. Furthermore, the features of the present-day Rubicon river (north–south course, orthogonal to the Via Aemilia) and the Via Aemilia itself (a straight reach before and after the crossing, and a turn just passing by , so marking a possible administrative boundary) are common to typical geographical oriented limits of Roman age, being what made this a clue of actual identification of the present-day Rubicon River with the Fiumicino. In 1933, after various efforts that spanned centuries, the Fiumicino, which crossed the town of Savignano di Romagna (now
Savignano sul Rubicone Savignano sul Rubicone ( rgn, Savgnèn) is a ''comune'' (municipality) in the Province of Forlì-Cesena in the Italy, Italian region Emilia-Romagna, located about southeast of Bologna and about southeast of Forlì. The comune takes its name from ...
), was officially identified as the former Rubicon. Strong evidence supporting this theory came in 1991,Pignotti R., Ravagli P., Donati G., "Rubico quondam finis Italiae", ''Città del Rubicone,'' p. 3, October, 1991 when three Italian scholars (Pignotti, Ravagli, and Donati), after a comparison between the
Tabula Peutingeriana ' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") ...

Tabula Peutingeriana
and other ancient sources (including
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
), showed that the distance from Rome to the Rubicon River was 200 Roman miles. Key elements of their work are: * The locality of San Giovanni in Compito (now a western quarter of Savignano) has to be identified with the old ''Ad Confluentes'' (''compitum'' means "road junction", and is synonymous with ''confluentes''). * The distance between ''Ad Confluentes'' and Rome, according to the
Tabula Peutingeriana ' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") ...

Tabula Peutingeriana
, is 201 Roman miles. * The distance from today's San Giovanni in Compito and the Fiumicino river is one Roman mile ().


Present

Today there is no visible, material evidence of Caesar's historical passage.
Savignano sul Rubicone Savignano sul Rubicone ( rgn, Savgnèn) is a ''comune'' (municipality) in the Province of Forlì-Cesena in the Italy, Italian region Emilia-Romagna, located about southeast of Bologna and about southeast of Forlì. The comune takes its name from ...
is an industrial town and the river has become one of the most polluted in the
Emilia-Romagna Emilia-Romagna (, , both also ; ; egl, Emégglia-Rumâgna or ''Emîlia-Rumâgna''; rgn, Emélia-Rumâgna) is one of the 20 Regions of Italy, administrative regions of Italy, situated in the north of the country, comprising the historical regions ...

Emilia-Romagna
region. Exploitation of underground waters along the upper course of the Rubicon has reduced its flow—it was a minor river even during Roman times ("''parvi Rubiconis ad undas''" as
Lucan Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (3 November 39 AD – 30 April 65 AD), better known in English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon E ...
said, "to the waves of
he
he
tiny Rubicon")—and has since lost its natural route, except in its upper course, between low and woody hills.


Notes


External links

* *
Livius.org: Rubico

Rubicon in dictionary
* {{Authority control
Rivers of Italy {{CatAutoTOC Bodies of water of Italy Rivers of Europe by country, Italy Rivers by country, Ital ...
Roman Italy Julius Caesar Rivers of Emilia-Romagna Adriatic Italian coast basins