ON the 10th January in 49 BC, Julius Caesar and his troops famously crossed the Rubicon, the river marking the boundary between the province of Cisalpine Gaul and Italy. Taking the 13th Legion over this forbidden frontier constituted an act of treason and triggered civil war in Rome. According to the historian Suetonius, Caesar uttered the famous phrase ālea iacta est (“the dye is cast”).

The Rubicon has been one of the world’s most famous rivers ever since Julius Caesar crossed it. Three rivers in north-east Italy were successively thought to be the historical Rubicon; the Pisciatello, Fiumicino and Uso rivers. 

It was not until 1933 that the Fiumicino, which crossed the town of Savignano di Romagna (renamed Rubicone by Mussolini), was identified as the former Rubicon. This theory was not proven until some 58 years later in 1991 when three Italian scholars, using the Tabula Peutingeriana – a medieval copy of a Roman road map – and various ancient sources, were able to prove the location of the original Rubicon.

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Article and photos by Carole Raddato on AHE