One question that has been making the rounds on TikTok is women asking men how often they think about the Roman Empire.
The trend originally started on Instagram when Gaius Flavius, a Roman reenactor based in Sweden, shared an Instagram video to his 100,000 followers with an on-screen caption that read, "Ladies, many of you do not realize how often men think about the Roman Empire."
His caption continued: “Ask your husband/boyfriend/father/brother – you will be surprised by their answers.”
When the Roman Empire is mentioned, it specifically refers to a territory 2,000 years ago comprising regions of Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia that were ruled by emperors. Its innovations in culture, law, religion, and technology have had lasting impacts today.
Flavius’s post has been viewed more than 1.7 million times since being posted on 19 August. More than 1,000 people commented on this post with many proofing Flavius’s theory right.
A few weeks later, the trend has gone viral on TikTok. The clips have gained millions of views on the platform. One of the most popular ones was made by Sam Slupski, who uses they/them pronouns. Their video has gained over five million views.
In the TikTok Slupski recalls asking their husband the question: “How often do you think about the Roman Empire?”
“He said every single day," Slupski recounted, "and then we had a 45-minute conversation about the Roman Empire."
They recalled that the conversation made them “reconceptualise their understanding of humankind.” “Maybe now every day I will also think about the Roman Empire,” Slupski ended the video.
People in the comments section continued to confirm the theory. “I LITERALLY SAW THAT VIDEO AND WALKED IN ON TWO MALE COWORKERS TALKING ABOUT THE ROMAN EMPIRE,” one person commented.
Another person had a similar experience, writing, “My husband just said ‘Well there’s the Roman Empire and then there’s the Holy Roman Empire. Which one are you asking about?’”
A third person chimed in with another man who confirmed the “Roman Empire theory.” “Texted my husband, ‘How often do you think about the Roman Empire?’ And he responded, ‘Twice today, why?’”
One TikToker even went as far as making an entire explanation video for why men think about the Roman Empire so often.
A man under the username @themasculineedge on the platform made a TikTok with a caption that read, “Roman Empire trend explained from a man’s perspective.”
“Men inherently have the need to conquer,” he said. “We always have and we always will. We want to conquer. We want to conquer everything. We’re adventurous. We need and seek that, and if we don’t have it then we imagine it.”
He continued: “There’s a quote: ‘The masses of men lead lives of quiet desperation.’ If your man is thinking about their own empire and then conquering it’s because he’s not conquering enough in his life himself.”
However, not everyone in the comments believed in his theory. “It’s not just about Roman conquest, it’s about civilization, glory, honor, culture, longevity etc etc,” one comment read.
Another person had a different theory, writing, “It’s just interesting to see how big it got with its impact and to look at all the things the inventions and how they fell.”