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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student


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Knox Students’ Roman Empires: What Lives In Students’ Heads Rent Free?

Image from: https://www.usatoday.com/videos/life/2023/09/21/bizzare-tiktok-trend-reveals-men-think-roman-empire-lot/8418911001/

A TikTok trend, the “Roman Empire” has taken social media by storm recently. I decided to discover whether the phenomenon that triggered the trend was real or not, but my plans took different a turn.

You probably heard about the “Roman Empire” trend that has become popular in TikTok over the last few months. The trend consists mainly of women recording themselves asking their male relatives, boyfriends, or husbands how often they think about the Roman Empire. The men in the vast majority of these videos respond that the topic crosses their mind frequently — in some cases every day — and the women were extremely surprised about the naturalness that the men admitted to thinking often about this certain historical period.

Seeing that, I immediately thought I should know whether this phenomenon was true or just a TikTok myth. So I decided to start interviewing men I knew. The first male I interviewed was my brother. Here are some (translated) print screens of how our conversation went:

Basically, according to my brother, a history nerd who thinks about the Roman Empire at least once a month -– the reason he does is his nerdiness, not his gender. That logically made sense, but I still wanted to know whether the illogical was true: do Knox men think about the Roman Empire?

Searching for answers, I took the liberty of interviewing 30 male identifying Knox students about the matter. The product of my research was not that exciting. The greatest portion of answers (15) were “not at all”. I got 4 people who said “thrice/twice a year”, 8 who answered “twice/thrice a month”, and 3 that, like my brother, answered, “once a month”. Two of the “once a month” respondents were history majors. I got none of the TikTok responses of men who claimed to think about the empire every day. It seemed that my brother was right. Knox men did not seem to particularly think about the Roman empire. I then found myself curious about what Knox students do think about, male identifying or not.

That is how I had the idea of interviewing students on what their Roman empire is, or what is the one thing that randomly pops into their head all the time. I interviewed more than 50 students on the matter, and I gladly present the results in the table below. I even included in the table my own Roman Empire : Super Mario Bros. This is it, if you dissect my brain you will probably find clips of Peach being abducted by Bowser Jr, Mario banging his head against heavy blocks (how is he not concussed at this point), and a record on repeat of  “It’s me, Mario!” in that one Italian accent.

It is possible to summarize student’s answers in ten categories:

  1. Sexual orientation
  2. Family/friends
  3. Sports
  4. Duties
  5. Entertainment
  6. Past experiences
  7. Political matters
  8. Historical events
  9. Intrusive thoughts
  10. Aspirations

Even though my research did not end as I initially expected, I had fun doing it and enjoyed the final product. It was interesting to learn more about what goes on inside students’ heads, and how people think differently from each other. What about you? What is your Roman Empire?

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About the Contributor
Julia Maron
Julia Maron, Staff Writer
Julia Maron '26 (she/her) is a staff writer in TKS since her freshman year. She is a psychology and creative writing double major. Julia spends her free time writing, drawing, profoundly reflecting upon the deepest secrets of the human physical existence, and reading.

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    Classics majorJan 13, 2024 at 4:31 pm

    You didn’t reach out to the classics department?? Like that’s our thing.