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.
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.”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!?
— Rev. Kelsey Lewis Vincent (@KelseyMLoo) September 6, 2023
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:
*Youth pastor voice* I know one man who thought about the Roman Empire every day
— Erik Baker (@erikmbaker) September 14, 2023
maybe if you did your lessons as much as you thought about the roman empire you'd be fluent by now
— Duolingo (@duolingo) September 18, 2023
how often does the Roman empire think of me 😔
— kurtis conner (@kurtisconner) September 16, 2023
Now personally, I love ancient Rome, so I loved to see that a lot of people are, apparently, thinking about it:
And a lot of the videos are actually super endearing. This one is my favorite — he got me excited to talk about it too!
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.
not to be a buzzkill but as a woman in classics, a field full of young women, with older men monopolizing the positions the power, I kinda hate how normal it is to replicate the idea that women have less of a claim to history https://t.co/1HOycEMtPE
— @soygirl.bsky.social (@godprincess_oat) September 15, 2023
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.
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?!
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.
So, it's not that men actually think about Rome more — it's just that the trend is making it seem that way.
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.