Ask the guys in your life if they ever think of the Roman Empire. You may be surprised by the answer. TikTokker, @paige.elysee, discovered this earlier in the week. She recapped in a video she posted on Tuesday a recent discussion she had with her friends, in which someone asked the innocent question: “How many times does your boyfriend or man in your life think about the Roman Empire?” She tapped into an obvious truth: straight men tend to think a lot about the Roman Empire. In order to support this theory @paige.elysee asked her gay male friends and they replied, “Never.”
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There are exceptions to this rule, and we will discuss them later. But the overwhelming response shows that there is something strange about the male straight mind, as well as the free space in which the Roman Empire resides. The post, which has received almost 10,000 likes so far, prompted a number of Stitches, and videos, in which women asked their male friends and partners. Many of the TikToks show men responding to the question instantly, without asking why. Their responses show how normal it is to them. For example, asking them how many times they brush their teeth.
The Roman Empire is still relevant
Aside from the fact that this is a funny trend that gives the world a little more insight into the minds of dudes, there’s some real truth to it. The fact that the Roman Empire is mentioned so often is a testimony to its relevance and enduring legacy. Then there are the infamous dictators. Caligula was a depraved, sadistic tyrant. Caracalla was cruelly violent, and Nero, brutal and paranoid, is also a tyrant. They are cautionary stories for those who want to be in power, and we like a good cautionary story. Straight dudes are big fans of political and militaristic strategy. Julius Caesar is the GOAT in both areas. On any given day you can find someone mentioning Marcus Aurelius, and r/Stoicism has a high number of members. Also, hustle culture is fond of #
Beyond this, the Roman Empire’s innovation and achievements are often mentioned in daily life. When I conducted a survey among Mashable’s staff, this became apparent. One of my coworkers said that her husband seldom thinks about Rome, but occasionally brings it up (e.g. When people mention that roads are crumbling, they say “but the Romans built stuff that is still standing”. The Roman Empire is everywhere in pop culture and the media. You may not organically think about the Roman Empire that often, but you’ve probably seen
Game of Thronesstoicism borrows from the Roman Empire. A coworker told me that the Roman Empire was mentioned in an unrelated conversation. Why? They were discussing the HBO series
. It’s not just for straight men to be interested in Roman history. I’m a female, and my thoughts about the Roman Empire are frequent. I think about the Roman Empire more often now that I’ve listened to the Hardcore history series “The Fall of the Republic,” a podcast popular among men. When I think of the Roman Empire I think of its decline, and the tendency for humans to repeat mistakes throughout history.
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Other women have emerged from the shadows to express their interest in Roman Empire. Christianna Silva, Mashable Senior Culture Reporter, read the book SPQR, written by Mary Beard. She loved how it focused on Rome’s construction, rather than its decline. Anna Iovine of Sex and Relationships, : “I’m not a man, but I am definitely the ‘Roman Empire partner’ in my relationship.” Iovine, after reading A Fatal Things Happened on The Way to the Forum has been thinking of the Roman Empire daily: “I love to learn about Ancient Rome/other Ancient societies because the parallels with our society.” Roman history is fascinating because it has a timeless relevance. Straight men spend a lot of time thinking about Roman Empire, but everyone who is curious about ancient culture and its lessons for modern society does as well. TikTok has become our virtual Colosseum, just as it was once a place for collective discourse and spectacle in ancient Rome. Women are leading the conversation.