And now word was brought that Caesar had seized Ariminum,1
a large city of Italy, and was marching directly upon Rome with all his forces. But this was false. For he was marching with no more than three hundred horsemen and five thousand men-at-arms; the rest of his forces were beyond the Alps, and he did not wait for them, since he wished to fall upon his enemies suddenly, when they were in confusion and did not expect him, rather than to give them time and fight them after they were prepared.
And so, when he was come to the river Rubicon, which was the boundary of the province allotted to him, he stood in silence and delayed to cross, reasoning with himself, of course, upon the magnitude of his adventure. Then, like one who casts himself from a precipice into a yawning abyss, he closed the eyes of reason and put a veil between them and his peril, and calling out in Greek to the bystanders these words only,
‘Let the die be cast,’ he set his army across.
As soon as the report of this came flying to Rome and the city was filled with tumult, consternation, and a fear that was beyond compare, the senate at once went in a body and in all haste to Pompey, and the magistrates came too. And when Tullus asked Pompey about an army and a military force, and Pompey, after some delay, said timidly that he had in readiness the soldiers who had come from Caesar,
and thought that he could speedily assemble also those who had been previously levied, thirty thousand in number, Tullus cried aloud,
‘Thou hast deceived us, Pompey!’ and advised sending envoys to Caesar; and a certain Favonius, a man otherwise of no bad character, but who often thought that his insolent presumption was an imitation of Cato's boldness of speech, ordered Pompey to stamp upon the ground and call up the forces which he used to promise.
But Pompey bore this ill-timed raillery with meekness2
; and when Cato reminded him of what he had said to him at the outset about Caesar, he replied that what Cato had said was more prophetic, but what he himself had done was more friendly.