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[35] Accordingly, he sent forward some centurions with a few of his bravest troops in peaceful garb to go inside the walls of Ariminum and take it by surprise. This was the first town in Italy after leaving Cisalpine Gaul. Toward evening Cæsar himself rose from a banquet on a plea of indisposition, leaving some friends who were still feasting. He mounted his chariot and drove toward Ariminum, his cavalry following at a short distance. When his course brought him to the river Rubicon, which forms the boundary line of Italy, he stopped and, while gazing at the stream, revolved in his mind the evils that might result from his crossing it with arms. Recovering himself he said to those who were present, "My friends, stopping here will be the beginning of sorrows for me; crossing over will be such for all mankind." Thereupon, he crossed with a rush like one inspired, uttering the common phrase, "Let the die be cast."1 Then he resumed his hasty journey and took possession of Ariminum about daybreak, advanced beyond it, stationed guards at the commanding positions, and, either by force or by kindness, mastered all whom he fell in with. As is usual in cases of panic, there was flight and migration from all the country-side in disorder and tears, the people having no exact knowledge, but thinking that Cæsar had arrived with an army of boundless strength.

1 "The Rubicon," says Duruy, "is probably the Fiumicino di Savignano, a reddish torrent twelve miles north of Ariminum, formed by the confluence of three brooks from the Apennines." Duruy doubts the whole story of Cæsar's hesitation at the Rubicon, but Plutarch (Life of Cæsar, 32) says that Asinius Pollio was present; and there is reason to believe that both Plutarch and Appian drew from Pollio's history.

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    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), RUBICON
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