Eight Days that Made Rome: Crossing the Rubicon

Presenter Bettany Hughes explores the day in 49BC when, defying the Senate, Julius Caesar and his army crossed the river Rubicon, plunging the Republic into civil war.

Crossing the Rubicon

Presenter Bettany Hughes explores the day in 49BC when, defying the Senate, Julius Caesar and his army crossed the river Rubicon, plunging the Republic into civil war. With the aid of the most recent archaeological finds and theories, she examines Caesar’s character, his dealings with Crassus, Pompey the Great and Cicero, and how his quest for absolute power effectively sounded the death knell for the Roman Republic and paved the way for dictatorial rule.


 

Bettany Hughes looks at the day in 49BC that Julius Caesar led his army across the River Rubicon. By doing so he ignored the orders of the Roman Senate, and effectively declared war on his rivals in Rome. In time, it would prove a fatal blow to the Republic – the system of elected officials that had governed for nearly half a millennium. Hughes analyses Caesar’s character and reveals how new theories about his health shed light on his decision-making, while archeological finds recently dredged from a Dutch river reveal the true genocidal horror of his conquest of Gaul. Dramatisations featuring Jack Ellis, Nathan Dean Williams and Bashar Rahal bring the key moments to life.

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