The Roman Empire might be long gone, but that doesn't stop countless men from thinking about it weekly or even daily, at least judging by a new TikTok trend.
Over the past few weeks, TikTok users and folks on other social media platforms have been asking men in their lives if they think about ancient Rome, and if so how often. User Kira Kosarin, for example, asked her fiancé how often he thinks about the Roman Empire, and his result surprised her.
"Three times a day," he answered without even pausing for thought. "Elaborate," she said after laughing. He replied, "There's so much to think about!"
In another popular post shared by Ashley Lance (@idkhowyoufoundme), she asked her boyfriend how often he thinks about the Roman Empire and he initially seemed confused. However, he later admitted he thought about it "maybe a week or two ago...the Roman Empire was a very big part of history." Ultimately, he said it's something that crosses his mind "three or four times a month."
There are also plenty of posts about the topic on X, formerly known as Twitter.
"I saw an IG Reel that said something along the lines of 'women have no idea how often the men in their lives think about the Roman Empire,'" wrote @KelseyMLoo. "So I asked my husband: 'How often do you think about the Roman Empire?' And without missing a beat he said 'Every day.' YALL! Why!?"
The post she was referring to came from 32-year-old Roman reenactor and history influencer Atur Hulu, who posts online as "Gaius Flavius." In the post that seemingly kickstarted the trend, Hulu wrote, "Ladies, many of you do not realize how often men think about the Roman Empire. … You will be surprised by their answers!”
In an interview with The Washington Post, Atur Hulu said he noticed there are a lot more men who express interest in the Roman Empire than there are women. "It is heavily male dominated," said Hulu, whose reenactment society has 16 men and just two women. "I can’t remember a day when I didn’t think about the Roman Empire. … It just fascinates me how different but also how similar the Roman Empire is to our world today.”
British publication The Tab even asked a psychologist what they think about the trend. “One reason why men think about the Roman Empire may be in relation to strength,” said Dr. Alicia Brown. "When we think about this period of time, we tend to conjure up an image of a male gladiator, and a lot of men can consider this to be the ultimate alpha male image. This links back to when we were hunter-gatherers and there needed to be a more dominant male to ward off danger. Although we no longer live in a hunter-gatherer society, our brains are still wired to survival."
Hey, maybe there's a lot of lessons to be learned from the history of ancient Rome. Even Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk—who seem like the type of men to learn the wrong lessons from the Roman Empire—proposed a fight in Rome. Even though it appears the fight isn't happening anymore, it's safe to bet they're thinking about Rome daily, too.