49 BCE — Caesar crosses the Rubicon

“Crossing the Rubicon” is now an expression for passing the point of no return: this is the original incident from which it derives. In 49 BCE, Gaius Julius, at that time just a general and not yet Caesar, led his army across the Rubicon river, which marked the border of Rome: to cross it marked him as a treasonous leader of a revolt against the Roman state. Famously, he is said to have quoted the Greek playwright Menander, saying “alea iacta est” – “the die is cast.”

Julius would be successful in his quest for the leadership of Rome and its empire (much of which, particularly Gaul, added by his own military genius): which is why history knows him best as Julius Caesar.

Referenced in:

Rvbicon — Ancient Rites

1976 — Howlin’ Wolf dies

Born Chester Arthur Burnett in 1910, there have been few bluesmen to equal to the talent of Howlin’ Wolf. His unusual name derives from his early (and notably unsuccessful) attempts to yodel – he sounded more like a howling wolf, and the name stuck.

Wolf’s career stretched over a quarter of a century, from 1951 until his death. He probably would have had a longer musical career had he not served in the military during World War Two, and his career would no doubt have brought him more joy had his mother not believed it to be ‘devil’s music’. Wolf died in Hines VA Hospital in Hines, Illinois, mourned by a generation of bluesmen he influenced and a legion of fans the world over.

Referenced in:
Woke Up This Morning — Alabama 3