(Corine Gatti, Headline USA) The Roman Empire known for being the most extensive political and social structure in Western civilization has been on the mind of modern men frequently—even reaching the level of obsession, according to a viral TikTok meme.
According to Rolling Stone, the trend started when a reenactor going by the name Gaius Flavius, who has played Roman legionnaires, shared an Instagram video in August with a caption that read, “Ladies, many of you do not realize how often men think about the Roman Empire.”
Women then started asking husbands or boyfriends if they thought often about the Roman Empire, and men were more obsessed with the ancient empire—which lasted from 27 B.C. to 476 A.D—than previously thought.
Soon after, the craze eventually moved to TikTok, and the answers stunned many women.
Ashley Lance’s TikTok post, which garnered over 3 million views asked her boyfriend, “How many times, like a week, or just how many times in general, do you think about the Roman Empire?”
He looked puzzled by the question and asked, “What about the Roman Empire?”
Moments later, he admitted that he last thought about the Roman Empire “maybe three or four times a month.”
@idkhowyoufoundmehe got so defensive once a week is insane original sound – ashley lance
Laine Bullinger, a popular TikToker, posted a video of her boyfriend answering a question about how often he thinks about the Roman Empire.
When Bullinger asked him why he thinks about the Roman Empire so frequently, he responded that they were the second most powerful empire in history. The video has since gone viral, garnering 3.5 million views.
@lainebullingerWhat does this mean…. Also why is he standing like robert pattinson????️ original sound – Laine Bullinger
One husband on a TikTok post with 1.2 million views responded about that turbulent period and responded: “Every boy you’ve ever met is like, ‘I wonder if I could survive in the Roman Legion,’ like, that’s a normal thing.”
@listenwithbritt #stitch with @HapaGirl learning new things after 13 years. #romanempire #husband #trend original sound – Listenwithbritt
Mike Duncan, the creator of the popular History of Rome podcast, told Rolling Stone he was not overly surprised by the obsession because it’s the equivalent of military history, something many men had an interest in.
“It’s for the same reasons that we see a lot of dads getting super into World War II, or the Civil War, or the Napoleonic era—there is something that draws men to those kinds of military stuff,” he said.
Moreover, people like to romanticize the Roman Empire, said Duncan of the territory that existed 2,000 years ago and included regions of Europe, North Africa and Western Asia.
“More likely than not, they would have died at the age of 28 because of an undiagnosed kidney stone while they were trying to plow their lands,” he observed.
Meanwhile, the viral trend of the Roman Empire apparently was on the minds of many with good reasons—as it has disturbing parallels with America’s corrupted leaders selling out their influence and sovereign power to enemies for money and power.
In March, a shirtless former Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-Calif., notably compared the Biden administration to the fall of Rome following former President Donald Trump’s first indictment.
“Now this is exactly what happened during the fall of the Roman Republic when you made it commonplace to start persecuting the tribunals, plebs, or any of the consuls whenever they left political office,” he said. “This is going to lead us down the exact same path that Rome followed and will lead to a dictatorship.”
— Madison Cawthorn (@CawthornforNC) March 30, 2023
Others have noted other overlapping factors, such as the open border, which is resulting in the gradual diminishment of American identity and culture, as was true following the sack of Rome in 410 A.D. at the hands of the Visigoths.
President Joe Biden also has drawn unflattering comparisons with the fifth Roman emperor, Nero—particularly for vacationing in Rehoboth Beach and Lake Tahoe while the residents of Lahaina, Hawaii, literally burned.
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.