cross the rubicon

Cultural Dictionary
cross the Rubicon [(rooh-bi-kon)]

To make an irrevocable decision; it comes from the name of the river Julius Caesar crossed with his army, thereby starting a civil war in Rome. (See Rubicon.)

American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
Rubicon [(rooh-bi-kon)]

A river in northern Italy that Julius Caesar crossed with his army, in violation of the orders of the leaders in Rome, who feared his power. A civil war followed, in which Caesar emerged as ruler of Rome. Caesar is supposed to have said, “The die is cast” (referring to a roll of dice), as he crossed the river.

Note: “Crossing the Rubicon” is a general expression for taking a dangerous, decisive, and irreversible step.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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