Although it was not yet ten years that he had been fighting in Gaul, he captured more than 800 cities, subjugated 300 nations, fought 3 million men at different times, killed 1 million of them in battle and took as many prisoners. (Plutarch, Caesar, 15.5)

Crossing the Rubicon: Caesar’s Decision and the Fate of Rome by Luca Fezzi (translated from the Italian by Richard Dixon) presents a tale of ambition and politics and civil war. Caesar decides to challenge Proconsul Pompey and ignores the Roman Senate’s command to disband his troops. Caesar crosses the Rubicon and risks everything to become the most powerful man in the Roman Empire. Luca Fezzi’s writing style, far from academic, tells the thrilling story of a brilliant general with much higher aspirations.

On top of the great story, Crossing the Rubicon explores how to manage risks, how to make decisions (Pompey made some major gaffes), and when to gamble…and when not to. I found Crossing the Rubicon a revealing history and a useful guide. Have you been to Italy? GRADE: A
List of Maps vii
A Note on the Text viii
Translator’s Note ix
A Note on Source x
Prologue xvi
Part I Background
1 The Stage and Its Main Characters 3
2 Plots and Scandals 39
3 The Arrival of the ‘First Triumvirate’ 53
4 Caesar, Gaul and Rome 67
Part II Rome In Chaos
5 From the Death of Clodius to a Sole Consul 89
6 Winner in a Tight Corner 107
7 Winds of Civil War 127
Part III From The Rubicon To The Surrender of Rome
8 The Rubicon 149
9 The Escape from Rome 166
10 Caesar’s ‘Long March’ and Pompey’s Flight to Brundisium 194
11 In Caesar’s Hands 224
12 The Battle Fought, the Res Publica, and the City 245
Glossary 279
Chapter Notes 285
Bibliography and Further Notes 301
Acknowledgements 330
Index 331


  1. Jeff Meyerson

    Yes, twice in the 1970s. Rome and Florence are amazing. We spent about a week in Rome each time and saw most of the highlights. We stayed at the top of the Spanish Steps in a pensione. In Florence we stayed in the center, right down the street from the Duomo. Another highlight (on a day trip by train from Florence) was climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which one could do then. And believe me, Jackie was very nervous doing so. There were NO railings on any levels except the top, and it really did lean. We spent a night in Bologna on the second trip, and only a few hours in Venice, and visited several other places – Verona (Juliet’s balcony? – unlikely), Rimini, Siena, Perugia, not to mention San Marino, a “microstate” completely surrounded by Italy.

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    I meant to add: the first trip there, we flew from London to Rome and got around afterwards by train. We had a Eurailpass and went from Rome to Florence and later to Vienna (via Milan), Munich, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, back to Copenhagen and then to Paris. In Rome, it was extremely hot and we took an all-day tour to Pompeii and Vesuvius. Unfortunately, the air conditioning on the bus broke down and we spent an hour driving around some dire areas of Naples trying to get it fixed. We drove to Pompeii, where they served a full meal before we toured the ruins, in the heat. We drove back via the Amalfi Coast.

    The second trip we drove (with a friend) from London through France and Italy to Rome. We took a trip outside Rome to Ostia Antica (the ancient Port of Rome) and to the amazing Villa d’Este in Tivoli. You can check it out on Wikipedia, which has pictures of their 51 fountains.

    1. Jeff Meyerson

      I wish we had gone to Australia and New Zealand when we were younger. It’s mostly been around the US and Western Europe and a little of Canada.

      Now Patrick has traveled everywhere!

    1. george Post author

      Rick, I go to Canada about once a month (usually looking for books) except in the Summer when the tourists jam the International bridges.


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