The Die is Cast

Contents: Meaning | Origin | Spread

Meaning

What does The Die is Cast mean?

The die is cast is a popular idiom, used for referring to the act of going beyond a point of no return.

An expression, originating from the same context and having the same meaning is Crossing the Rubicon.

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Origin

What's the origin of The Die is Cast?

“The die is cast” or “Alea iacta est” in Latin is a phrase, attributed to Julius Caesar by Suetonius.

According to the historiographer, Caesar adopted the phrase from the Greek playwright Menander, who included it in his play “Arrephoros”.

Caesar quoted the play on January 10th, 49 BC, when him and his army was crossing the river Rubicon, which was the first step of him becoming a dictator of Rome.

Spread & Usage

How did The Die is Cast spread?

“The die is cast” became a popular idiom, referenced in countless contexts across the history of Europe.

It first appears in English in the latter half of the 1600’s, and a modified form of the original Latin phrase was adopted by the Hall family of Shackerstone as a motto.

The first print of the idiom in English appeared in the tragicomedy published by John Haviland in 1637, under the title The Cid, a Tragicomedy, Out of French Made English.

Throughout the subsequent centuries, the phrase gained a wide array of uses, appearing in plays, novels, historical and political publications, and much more.

Although its prevalence decreased since the 1830’s, it is still widely recognized and used today.

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