in phrase to cross (or pass) the Rubicon "take a decisive step," 1620s, a reference to a small stream to the Adriatic on the coast of northern Italy which in ancient times formed part of the southern boundary of Cisalpine Gaul; crossed by Caesar Jan. 10, 49 B.C.E., when he left his province to attack Pompey. The name is from Latin rubicundus "ruddy," in reference to the color of the soil on its banks.
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.