“Cowards die many times before their actual deaths.”
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — “I have crossed the Rubicon…it’s congressman for 2019. Ilonggos, I will fight for you.”
Thus was the Caesarean declaration made by Councilor Joshua Alim in his Facebook account on October 8, 2018.
By using Rubicon, a shallow river in northeastern Italy south of Ravenna, as the focal point of his battle cry, Alim has imitated Julius Caesar’s crossing of the stream in 49 B.C. which was tantamount to a declaration of war against Rome as represented by Pompey and the Senate.
The historic importance of this event gave rise to the phrase “crossing the Rubicon” for a step which definitely commits a person to a given course of action.
Now that Alim, a lawyer and law instructor, has “crossed” the river, he must decisively defeat Pompey to complete the heroic saga.
Alim will tangle against his former colleagues in the city council, Dr. Perla Zulueta and Julienne “Jam-Jam” Baronda, in the shootout for Iloilo City’s lone congressional district in May 2019.
Two “Pompeys” backed by two powerhouse establishments: the Treñas Cavalry and the Joe III Squadron.
Alim’s incursion is buttressed by the combined Gonzalez and Ynion Armada.
The real Caesar and real Pompey fought to the bitter end at Pharsalus on August 9, 48 B.C.
Pompey had 48,000 infantry, 7,000 horses; Caesar had 22,000 and 1,000.
“Some few of the noblest Romans,” says Plutarch, “standing as spectators outside the battle…could not but reflect to what a pass private ambition had brought the Empire…The whole flower and strength of the same city, meeting here in collision with itself, offered plain proof how blind and mad a thing human nature is when passion is aroused.”
In Caesar and Christ: The Story of Civilization, Will Durant narrated: “Near relatives, even brothers, fought in the opposite armies. Caesar bade his men spare all Romans who should surrender; as to the young aristocrat Marcus Brutus, he said, they were to capture him without injuring him, or, if this proved impossible, they were to let him escape.”
The Pompeians were overwhelmed by superior leadership, training, and morale: 15,000 of them were killed or wounded, 20,000 surrendered, the remainder fled.
Pompey tore the insignia of command from his clothing and took flight like the rest.
Cesar tells us that he lost but 200 men–which cast doubt upon all his books.
Caesar’s army was amused to see the tents of the defeated so elegantly adorned, and their tables laden with the feast that was to celebrate their victory.
Caesar ate Pompey’s supper in Pompey’s tent.
Pompey rode all night to Larissa, thence to the sea, and took ship to Alexandria.
At Mytilene, where his wife joined him, the citizens wished him to stay; he refused courteously, and advised them to submit to the conqueror without fear, for, he said, “Caesar was a man of great goodness and clemency.”
Brutus also escaped to Larissa, but there he dallied and wrote to Caesar.
The victor expressed joy on hearing that he was safe, readily forgave him, and at his request forgave Cassius.
To the nations of the East, which–controlled by the upper classes–had supported Pompey, he was likewise lenient.
He distributed Pompey’s hoards of grain among the starving population of Greece, and to the Athenians asking pardon he replied with a smile of reproof: “How often will the glory of your ancestors save you from self-destruction?”
When Pompey hoped to resume the battle versus Caesar (with the news army and resources of Egypt, and the forces that Cato, Labienus, and Metellus Scipio were organizing at Utica), he was murdered while his wife looked on in helpless terror from the ship in which they had come, by servants of Pothinus, eunich vizer of Ptolemy XII, as he reached Alexanderia, in expectation of reward from Caesar.
When Caesar arrived, Pothinus’ men presented him with Pompey’s severed head.
Caesar turned away and wept.
By riding on the epic of the “crossing in the Rubicon” which bears a striking semblance of his struggle in Iloilo City politics, will Atty. Joshua Alim weep like Julius Caesar and loudly declare “Veni, vidi, vici. (I came, I saw, I conquered)” after the May 2019 elections?