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If boys think of the Roman Empire, what do girls think of?

From Greek mythology to The Lizzie McGuire movie, the answer come from social media

If boys think of the Roman Empire, what do girls think of?  From Greek mythology to The Lizzie McGuire movie, the answer come from social media

Thousands of men all over the world have been asked by the women in their lives these days, "Do you ever think of the Roman Empire? How many times a week or a month?" and were perhaps puzzled by such a specific and out of context question. However, there is an explanation for everything. More or less.

Roman Empire is trending

In the beginning, there was TikTok. According to Swedish influencer Saskia Cort, men are much more likely to think about the Roman Empire and Ancient Rome in general than women, showing a characteristic passion for this  historical period, and a video of hers about it triggered the trend. According to other sources, however, it was the user Gaius Flavius, a historical re-enactor, who first put forward this theory. But that doesn't matter. The pseudoscientific fact was take as true by people on social media, who immediately took action to find out whether this thing was true or not and published the results online.

More than a billion views

72 hours later, the hashtag #romanempire already has 1.1 billion views on TikTok, and the question has flown across the ocean, more precisely to the former Roman Empire, crossing the borders of the social network where it originated to land on Twitter (or X) and Instagram. Brothers, friends, fathers, cousins, sons and boyfriends have been asked (almost) all over the world with scientific rigour, and the answers vary.

Do men think about the Roman Empire?

Some men think about it every day, some three times a week, some only once in a while. Then there are those who think about only one particular aspect of the Empire, such as the gladiators, and finally those who prefer to devote their attention to the Middle Ages, the history of China or the Great War. In short, enthusiastic research has no definitive data, but in the meantime the trend continues inexorably. 

What about girls?

The next step, of course, was to ask what girls think about instead. To Greek mythology, the bearer of mystery and mysticism? To ancient Egypt and the somewhat gruesome secrets of the millennia-old practise of mummification? Soon the topic became a meme, and the answers are as varied as they are funny. Some associate Ancient Rome with the movies that were all the rage in the early 2000s about adolescent girls travelling to Italy and falling in love with a dark-haired boys on a Vespa, like Lizzie McGuire, Sabrina Spellman or the Olsen twins. After all, it is undeniable that the story of Lizzie going to Rome after high school, being mistaken for a pop star and then performing in a sold-out Colosseum has burned itself into the minds of all girls of that generation.


Female history

On the other hand, there are those who associate the Roman Empire with Nicki Minaj, a US rapper whose discography includes an album called Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded because she sometimes adopts an alter ego called Roman. And then there are those who talk about Twilight, their favourite book or fan fiction, outlining an interesting female cultural history (pop and otherwise), a canon of contemporary female obsessions, whether they are historical or not.