As the internet and social media continue to evolve alongside us, it’s clear their imprint on our culture is here to stay, and that most certainly includes TikTok trends. From makeup hacks to dating advice, the app is a hot spot for all things new and exciting.
While some trends are easier to trace back than others, the latest Roman Empire TikTok trend can confuse even the most seasoned of internet veterans. Here’s some insight on how the trend got started and the new shape it’s taken on now.
The Roman Empire Trend Explained
The roots of this trend stem from another trend entirely, so we’ll have to go back to early September 2023 when so many people were asking about the Roman Empire and the TikTok hashtag amassed over 1.2 billion views. So, what is the deal with the Roman Empire question?
It all sprouted from an Instagram post made by Gaius Flavius, a Roman reenactor who mainly posts historical content. Wanting to spark a dialogue, he captioned a post uploaded on August 19, 2023, “Ladies, many of you do not realize how often men think about the Roman Empire. Ask your husband/boyfriend/father/brother- you will be surprised by their answer!”
This prompted many women to take to TikTok, approach a man in their lives and, without any context or preface, ask, “How often do you think about the Roman Empire?” Much to the internet’s surprise, the response seemed blanketed: daily, weekly or simply put, unreasonably often.
As more and more women began asking the men in their lives how often they were thinking about the Roman Empire, the phenomenon began to take shape. So many unsuspecting men admitted to thinking about the Roman Empire all the time, all for varied reasons. After all, there was so much detail about the rich moment in history, from their epic battles to their iconic togas, what wasn’t there to think about?
A Woman’s Roman Empire
Now that we’ve covered the groundwork, we can fast forward to where the trend has evolved since then. The hashtag began to take on new meaning once people started to ask themselves what their Roman Empire equivalent was. While you may not be thinking about the Roman Empire on any sort of regular basis, there could be another moment in history that takes up the same amount of brain capacity.
As women began to wonder what their Roman Empire was, it became more and more clear that it was less about moments in historical or political history, and more about pop culture and adolescence milestones. For some, it was the day Beyoncé surprise dropped her self-titled album. For others, it was Issa Rae saying she was rooting for everybody Black at the Emmys. In that same vein, girls started to realize how often they thought about buying their first bra or going through their first friend breakup. The trend’s new font sparked a sense of comradery between women as they bonded over their most memorable moments of girlhood.
Humans are nuanced and there are many women who think about the Roman Empire regularly, as well as plenty of men who couldn’t care less. However, the trend does play a significant role in mirroring back to us how we emotionally respond to moments in our culture and the differences within how we operate as a species.
What Is Your Roman Empire?
Ultimately, TikTok trends are an invitation to take life a bit less seriously and have some fun. As the Roman Empire trend continues to help us understand the men in our lives a little more and bond over significant pop culture moments that meant the most to us, take some time to explore what moment in history your Roman Empire could be.