If you have scrolled through TikTok recently, you might have seen the same question posed in videos over and over again: How often do you think about the Roman Empire? The TikTok trend is simple. Ask a man in your life how often he thinks about the ancient civilization. In many cases, he will say “often.”
But why are people even asking this question, and why do men think about the Roman Empire?
Why are people talking about the Roman Empire?
According to Know Your Meme, which researches the origins of internet trends and jokes, an Instagram user from Sweden first posed the question. In a post on her story, Saskia Cort told followers to ask the men in their lives the question and report back. She then shared the answers in a post. Then, a Roman reenactor posed the question in a now-viral Instagram reel.
The trend soon took off, mainly on TikTok, where the hashtag #romanempire has 1.3 billion views on the app.
The belief is that men think about the Roman Empire far more than their female counterparts and if you scroll through the “Roman Empire” videos on TikTok, that certainly seems to be the case.
Many women are shocked when they ask their boyfriend, husband or dad the question and he responds with “every day.”
In one video, a woman asks her fiancee the question only to be shocked when he says “three times a day.” When she asks him to elaborate, he says: “There’s so much to think about.”
That is true – the Roman Empire lasted about 1,000 years and greatly influenced modern civilizations.
In one video, a woman texts the question to her father. He replies that he thinks about it every time he uses the bathroom because he thinks about sewers “and how the Romans invented the modern-day sewage system.”
In another video, a woman said she regretted asking her husband because he began rambling off a list of reasons, including the fact that the Romans popularized the use of cement, roads and aqueducts. He also points out that welfare was created by the Roman Empire, as well as the calendar and some forms of surgery.
While many men say they think about the Roman Empire often, their answers are hard to predict, and many men admittedly never think about it.
When CBS News asked men correspondents how often they think about the Roman Empire, several said they didn’t think about it at all.
But featured “CBS Mornings” host and streaming anchor Vladimir Duthiers said “probably once or twice a month.”
Streaming anchor Errol Barnett said “a couple times a month.” His explanation: “So much of our history is linked to it, philosophy is linked to the Roman Empire, ancient Greece. So yeah, I would say semi-frequently.”
Why did the Roman Empire fall?
We know that the Roman Empire, which lasted from 27 BCE to 476 AD, is responsible for many innovations. Roman numerals, the Julian Calendar – with July named after Julius Caesar and August named after Augustus – newspapers and many more inventions that are still in use today are credited to the Romans, according to Rome’s tourism site.
And while landmarks like the Colosseum are still standing, the empire is not. There are several reasons, including “barbarian invasions” that resulted in several military losses, economic trouble and overspending. Rome also split into the Eastern and Western empires.
The Western Empire was overthrown by Visigoths, German peoples who raided Rome. The Eastern Empire, which was always stronger, continued as the Byzantine Empire, which broke up in the Middle Ages.
The Roman Empire, which was over 1.7 million square miles at its height, no longer exists – but it lives in the minds of many, apparently.
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