Do American men have an obsession with the Roman Empire? NatGeo’s Amy Briggs says yes!
According to her, men are compelled by the era due to interest in engineering and everything related to the military and that the Roman Empire is “Full of good stories” that feed their macho instincts. The trend of this obsession has recently also gone viral on TikTok.
This passion for everything related to ancient Rome is not just for historians. The recent trend prompted women to ask the men in their lives on TikTok how often they think about the Roman Empire. The response was surprising, to say the least, as husbands, boyfriends, dads and friends admitted that they think about the era and its feats multiple times a week — if not every day.
TikToker Allie Ninfo (@allieninfo) posted a video on Sept. 16 asking her boyfriend how often he thinks about it.
In the video (see above), which has since been viewed nearly three million times, Ninfo’s boyfriend admitted that he thinks about the Roman Empire about three times a week.
“A lot of cool s— happened back then,” he said. “I’ve got Marcus Aurelius’ book … I try to watch documentaries on it all the time. It’s awesome.”
Former “Bachelorette” Hannah Brown asked her fiancé, Adam Woolard, the same question in a TikTok video posted on Sept. 15, to which he responded that he thinks about the period “pretty consistently.”
“Because I’m big into martial arts,” he explained. “Every time I fight people, I think about walking into the Coliseum [sic].”
“Like, if this is a fight to the death and people around are cheering, I have to win,” he added. “I think about it constantly.”
Woolard went further and put his thoughts in a larger context: “Men, I think, to our core, were warriors,” he said. “We have to be ready for battle at all times and the Roman Empire is all about battle. It’s common sense.”
It’s tempting to conclude from these thoughts that the Roman Empire is irrevocably associated with violence, but Amy Briggs, editor-in-chief of National Geographic History Magazine, noted a similar fascination with the Roman Empire but suggested that men in particular have a natural interest in two factors: engineering and the military. “There are so many Roman feats that still resonate, I think because there are so many we can still see and interact with — aqueducts, roads, monuments, temples, theaters and stadiums, works of art, literature,” she told Fox News Digital.
She tried to explain how such interest could endure for two millennia: “This isn’t some lost city or vanished people,” Briggs went on. “The remnants of this culture are everywhere waiting to be devoured.”
The empire was filled with “big projects” such as roads and aqueducts, which not only required an “innovative design,” Briggs pointed out, but also a “big, complex labor force.”
The history expert assumed that the accessibility of Roman artifacts is what keeps the empire top of mind for some people.
Even the Founding Fathers of the United States were “obsessed” with Rome, according to Briggs.
“They adopted Roman aliases when writing their 18th-century pamphlets and op-eds,” she said. “For example, ‘The Federalist Papers’ were published under the pseudonym ‘Publius,’ after a founder of the Roman Republic.”
America’s founders also read Edward Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” with Volume I being published in 1776, and “obsessively worried about being a parallel to the licentious Roman Empire,” said Briggs.
“So, it’s a very American thing to think about Rome,” she added.
At the “heart of it,” Briggs suggested the topic stays popular with both men and women because the Roman Empire is “full of good stories.”