‘The last years’ explains how private armies and ever-increasing riches enabled one man to possess the dignitas, wealth, and military might to rule alone. The desire for gloria which drove Rome towards expansion unleashed social, political, and economic forces that the Republic could not contain, and power passed into the hands of warlords whose rivalry descended into civil war. Like Sulla a generation before, when faced with the choice between war and political oblivion, Caesar chose war. Appealing to his soldiers to defend his dignitas, in 49 bc Caesar crossed the Rubicon River into Roman Italy. Conflict from within had sown the seeds of the Republic's demise.