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»Romula Fest« in Romania: Men in uniforms are reminiscent of ancient Rome


How often do you think about the Roman Empire? Julius Caesar, the turtle formation of the soldiers or the story of Romulus and Remus?




If you're wondering what this question is all about, ask your boyfriend, buddy, or husband how often he thinks about it. A curious TikTok trend seems to prove one thing: men often think of the Roman Empire. Very often.

The TikTok Trend

There are currently numerous videos circulating on TikTok in which women ask their partners or friends how often they think of ancient Rome. The clips have already been viewed millions of times.

For example, a woman films herself asking a man how often he thinks of the Roman Empire. The answer: "All the time." And: "Every boy you've ever met has asked himself the question: 'Could I survive in the Roman Legion?' That's a normal thing." The woman doesn't seem to understand that.

In another video, a man responds to the same question from his fiancée that he thinks about the Roman Empire three times a day. When the woman starts laughing, the man justifies himself: "There's so much to think about." The video counts more than four million clicks.

Another man is very specific when asked. He thinks of ancient Rome at least once a day. The woman behind the camera laughs. He says, "I think about what life was like back then." Recently, he met a man with an SPQR tattoo, the Roman emblem. The abbreviation stands for Senatus Populusque Romanus. He learned Latin for 15 years, the man explains: "I love this stuff."

The trend may have been triggered by Artur Hulu, a 32-year-old history influencer from Sweden. On his Instagram account, he appears as legionnaire Gaius Flavius and posts memes and skits. In mid-August he wrote: "Ladies, many of you don't know how often men think about the Roman Empire. Ask your husband/friend/father/brother – you will be surprised by their answers."

Where does male interest come from?

According to the Washington Post, Hulu stated that men's interest in ancient Rome has historically developed in this way. The men in the Renaissance did it. The founding fathers also thought about the Roman Empire. Once you've come into contact with the Roman Empire enough, whether it's about the military or the law, you see it everywhere," he said. He himself can't remember a day when he didn't think about the Roman Empire: "I'm simply fascinated by how different the Roman Empire is from our world today, but also how similar it is to it."

According to historians, it may be that men are more interested in the Roman Empire than women because some aspects of Roman history, such as the campaigns and gladiatorial fights, are primarily associated with a general idea of masculinity. The first thing that comes to mind is "an image of the Roman Legion, the imperial eagle and that kind of military aspect – along with gladiators who have long been associated with masculinity and power," Hannah Cornwell, a historian at the University of Birmingham in the UK, told The Washington Post.

Rome was founded in 753 BC, the Roman Empire lasted until the eighth century AD. At the time of its largest area in terms of area, it stretched roughly from North Africa to present-day Great Britain and from present-day Portugal in the west to the Caspian Sea in the east.

The ancient superpower has left its mark on the present day – and now also on TikTok.

Can't get enough of ancient Rome? Then you will find all SPIEGEL texts, videos and podcasts on the Roman Empire here.

And here is the SPIEGEL story: Rome – The Rise and Fall of the Republic