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

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:

Another one:

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.

  TikTok / Via tiktok.com

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.

I definitely wasn't the only one who felt a little left out!

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

The funniest answer I got was probably, "Before meeting you? Never. After you? Once a week." ...But then I seriously diversified the people I was asking, LOL.

Universal History Archive / Getty Images / Bamini / Getty Images/iStockphoto

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

I should also note that this obviously wasn't a random sampling of the population, although I did my best to get a huge variety of people (and for the record, the only Classics classmate I polled was a man).

Tonybaggett / Getty Images/iStockphoto

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.

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

I've seen so many people who are chronically online and LARPing as ancient Rome enjoyers. I think it gives very ordinary men a feeling that they are more "masculine" than they really are. Guys, just go read a book, treat everybody like they are people, and hit the gym. You'll feel better.

Piola666 / Getty Images

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."

I know that I'm obsessed with Roman history, and that most people are not, at least to the degree I am. I had to know: What are these people thinking about when it comes to Rome? So, I asked everybody I surveyed.

I know that I'm obsessed with Roman history, and that most people are not, at least to the degree I am. I had to know: What are these people thinking about when it comes to Rome? So, I asked everybody I surveyed.

Mikroman6 / Getty Images

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
GlobalIP / Getty Images

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.

  Bloomberg Creative / Getty Images/Bloomberg Creative Photos
Bloomberg Creative / Getty Images/Bloomberg Creative Photos

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.

  Pictures From History / Pictures from History/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Pictures From History / Pictures from History/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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?