the Roman civil war, Julius Caesar knew he had to march on Rome itself,
which no legion was permitted to do. Marcus Lucanus left us a chronicle
of what happened:
"How swiftly Caesar had surmounted
the icy Alps and in his mind conceived immense upheavals, coming
war. When he reached the water of the Little Rubicon, clearly to the
leader through the murky night appeared a mighty image of his
country in distress, grief in her face, her white hair streaming
from her tower-crowned head, with tresses torn and shoulders bare
she stood before him, and sighing said:
further do you march? Where do you take my standards, warriors?
If lawfully you come, if as citizens, this far only is allowed.
Then trembling struck the leader's
limbs; his hair grew stiff and
weakness checked his progress, holding his feet at the river's edge.
At last he speaks:
'O Thunderer, surveying great
Rome's walls from the
Tarpeian Rock --
'O Phrygian house gods of Iulus, clan and
mysteries of Quirinus who was carried off to heaven --
'O Jupiter of
in lofty Alba and hearths of
'O Rome, equal to the highest
deity, favor my plans.
Not with impious weapons do I
pursue you. Here am I, Caesar, conqueror of land and sea, your
own soldier, everywhere, now, too, if I am permitted. The man
who makes me your enemy -- it is he who be the guilty one.'
Then he broke the barriers of war
and through the swollen river swiftly took his standards. And Caesar
crossed the flood and reached the opposite bank. From Hesperia's
forbidden fields he took his stand and said: