I Figured Out Why The Hell People Are Thinking About Ancient Rome So Much — And No, It's Not Just Men

    I'm truly fascinated by this.

    If you're online in any capacity, you've probably seen this trend making the rounds. Many women are talking about how fascinated they are that the men in their lives seem to be thinking so much about the Roman Empire.

    Twitter: @KelseyMLoo

    The trend came about when Instagram user @gaiusflavius posted a reel saying "Ladies, many of you do not realise how often men think about the Roman Empire."

    Asking men this question and filming their answers quickly became a trend on TikTok, and...well, here we are! 

    The trend also spawned a ton of memes:

    Twitter: @erikmbaker

    Twitter: @duolingo

    Twitter: @kurtisconner

    Now personally, I love ancient Rome, so I loved to see that a lot of people are, apparently, thinking about it:


    the roman empire is actually fascinating

    ♬ original sound - sam

    Another one:


    What does this mean…. Also why is he standing like robert pattinson🧍‍♂️

    ♬ original sound - Laine Bullinger

    And a lot of the videos are actually super endearing. This one is my favorite — he got me excited to talk about it too!


    Genuine excitement that i brought it up. When he breaks into Latin😂 #fyp #romanempire #latin #spqr @Quinn Moran

    ♬ original sound - Nessa Moran

    In many videos and comments, a lot of people are surprised and amused by how often men seem to be thinking about Rome.

    And they're not the only ones. "Why does there seem to be a gender divide in who is daydreaming about ancient Rome today?" asked the Washington Post in an article published Thursday. But the answer is that actually...there is no gender divide.

    As a classics major and a huge lover of Roman history, this trend left a little bit of a weird taste in my mouth. I saw no reason why women wouldn't also be thinking about ancient Rome — I literally think about it every single day.

    Also: this.

    Twitter: @godprincess_oat

    So...I decided to call, like, every single person I could think of (plus a few more) and ask them how often they think about ancient Rome.

    A statue of Augustus Caesar, but I edited a pink Motorola Razr cell phone in his hand

    I asked 50 men and 50 women, and honestly expected things to be pretty evenly split — maybe with men thinking about Rome a liiiiitle more often. But my results surprised me: Only 48% of the men I asked said they think about Rome often, as opposed to 66% of the women. Who knew?!

    A marble bust of emperor Antoninus Pus, but I put emoji sunglasses over his face

    That might seem like a huge gap, so just to be safe (and because I'm super nerdy) I broke out my high school statistics knowledge and conducted a chi-square test of independence to see if this difference in percentage really mattered. Men, you're off the hook: According to my little study, there's no statistically significant difference between how much more often women are thinking of ancient Rome than you.

    a little girl stands smiling in front of a whiteboard filled with math equations

    So, it's not that men actually think about Rome more — it's just that the trend is making it seem that way.


    I will be interviewing everyone at youth group tonight for SURE #guys #rome #greenscreen

    ♬ I’m Just Ken - Ryan Gosling
    Via tiktok.com
    If you think about it, only women who aren't thinking of Rome much are likely to ask men about it and film the answers. And out of those, only the videos where men have funny or interesting answers are likely to actually get posted. I mean, no one's going to post a guy saying "...Why would I ever think of that?" — and no one, of course, is asking women.

    Also — since this is the internet — I do want to say that there is a world of difference between earnest interest and love of history and, well, weirdo behavior.

    two tourists give a cheesy thumbs-up to the camera while posing in front of the Colosseum

    But, people, why in God's name are we thinking about Rome so much?! I mean, I'd estimate that over half the population is thinking about Rome "fairly often."

    A large amount (and variety) of people gave answers like "I just wonder about what the hygiene was like," as well as "I just think gladiators are f—cking dope." Others stated interest in Roman engineering, building practices, and aqueducts. Seriously, I got sooo many aqueduct answers. And TBH, yeah, aqueducts deserve it. They're the coolest.

    the Pont du Gard aqueduct in France

    My friend Blake (who thinks about Rome once a day) told me, "I'm never like 'aw hell yeah, time to think about Rome! But it's tangentially related to enough stuff I like that I think about it pretty often.'" He told me he thinks about military strategy, Roman infrastructure, and mythology.

    The ruins of the Forum in Rome

    Quite a few people said they think often about how Rome impacted European and Middle Eastern history through engineering, religion, and politics.

    Nighttime photo of the front of Hadrian's Pantheon at night

    He and a handful of others (one of these being my lovely mom) also drew a parallel to the political structure of the United States and its current state of affairs. With the US government having been modeled after the Roman Republic, it's easy to think about the late Republic when one is considering corruption and other issues in our own government.

    Still MORE people said they enjoy listening to history podcasts and learning about the past in general. One woman (who said she thinks about Rome probably twice a week) told me that for her, it's all about contextualizing history, seeing how cultures influence each other, and considering what values and powers-that-be still affect our daily lives today.

    Whether it's art, personal growth, engineering, religion, politics, or something else, I think we can conclude that everybody, regardless of gender, probably just thinks about history a lot. And isn't that lovely?