Haiku Archives: Caesar at the Rubicon

It was long thought by historians that Julius Caesar had epilepsy. However, modern medical experts believe it is more likely that he suffered a series of mini-strokes over the course of several years.
Accounts from Caesar’s doctors reveal that nightmarish hallucinations haunted him during these episodes.
It was recorded that Caesar suffered such an episode as he stood at the banks of the Rubicon River. He collapsed into the water and had to be pulled to safety by his bodyguards.
When his head cleared, Caesar told a confidant that he had witnessed a ghostly woman rise from the water. She warned him not to bring his army across the Rubicon.
Hallucination or not, it was good advice. At the time, Caesar was considered an enemy of Rome. Bringing his army across the Rubicon boundary could only be viewed as treason.
Of course, Caesar ultimately decided to press forward – an act that plunged Rome into civil war. General Pompey, who had been charged with protecting Rome, proved to be no match for Caesar and his battle-hardened legions.
After defeating Pompey, Caesar became an all-powerful dictator who was regarded as a deity. Even with ultimate power and mind-boggling riches, he must have known his days were numbered. The political currents in Rome were powerful enough to sweep anyone away – even a god on Earth.
In the years leading up his assassination, Caesar was mired in a deep depression and a constant state of paranoia. The troubling hallucinations persisted, and I can only wonder if Caesar ever regretted crossing the Rubicon that fateful day.

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strange apparition

rises from the Rubicon –

even Caesar balks

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