Why do we say "The die is cast.

Well-Known Expressions

The die is cast

Meaning:

The decision is made, it's too late to change, you've past the point of no return.

Background:

According to the Greek historian Plutarch (c 46-120 AD) in his Life of Caesar, and in the writings of Suetonius, when Julius Caesar cross the Rubicon in 49 BC (thus declaring civil war against the Roman government) he uttered the words jacta alea est (or alea jacta est) which translate as "the die is cast" (die, obviously, being the singular of dice).

Crossing the Rubicon, another popular idiom, has a similar meaning.  The Rubicon, a river in the north of Italy, marked the boundary between the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul (meaning "Gaul on this side of the Alps") to the north and the Italian republic to the south.  Roman law prohibited its generals crossing the river with an army so as to protect the Republic from internal military threat. Thus, when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon he broke the law and effectively declared war, making armed conflict inevitable.

Alphabetical list of expressions

Challenge yourself with BookBrowse Wordplays

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Islamic Enlightenment
    The Islamic Enlightenment
    by Christopher de Bellaigue
    In this comprehensive and well-researched history, de Bellaigue examines the evolution of Islamic ...
  • Book Jacket: The Leavers
    The Leavers
    by Lisa Ko
    The day before Deming Guo saw his mother for the last time, she surprised him at school. A navy blue...
  • Book Jacket: Wonderful Feels Like This
    Wonderful Feels Like This
    by Sara Lovestam
    High school is hard; or perhaps, more accurately, growing up and finding oneself is hard. This is ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Scribe of Siena
    by Melodie Winawer

    Equal parts transporting love story, meticulously researched historical fiction, and compelling time-travel narrative.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Chalk Pit

The Chalk Pit:
A Ruth Galloway Mystery

A string of murders takes Ruth underground in the newest book in the series.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T W Don't M A R

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -