Oddly enough, not one of these men is currently thinking about the Roman Empire.
Episode 70: In which Roma learns she’s the hottest thing on TikTok (but not what TikTok is), and Minerva, Mars, and Britannia are jealous.
MINERVA, ROMAN GODDESS OF STRATEGY: Roma! Have you seen the mortal news? You’re trending!
ROMA, GODDESS OF ROME: I have no idea what you are talking about. But I am already prepared to not care.
BRITANNIA, GODDESS OF THE PROVINCE OF BRITAIN: Trending means a lot of people are talking about you.
ROMA: Of course they are. I’m very important.
MARS, ROMAN GOD OF WAR: Well, you were important. It’s not like you’re doing a lot for the world at the moment. Now war, violence, those are always in fashion.
BRITANNIA: And colonialism. That’s always popular too.
MINERVA: Actually, the question of the modern importance of the Roman Empire is directly relevant to what is trending. Women ask the men in their life how often they think about the Roman Empire, and they film the interactions. Then they post it on the internet.
MINERVA: What part?
ROMA: All of it.
MINERVA: I have no idea. But the mortals seem to be very impressed by how often the men think about the Roman Empire. It’s a lot.
ROMA: This is not surprising in the least. Like I said, I’m very important.
BRITANNIA: Is anyone asking how often people think about my empire?
MARS: I’m also not surprised. Men like to think about badass things. And everyone knows the Roman Empire was the most badass empire ever.
MINERVA: I’m not sure those statements would stand up under academic scrutiny. Regardless of Roma’s self-confidence, the implication appears to be that women are surprised by how often men think of the Roman Empire. Or at least claim to think about it.
MARS: What do you mean claim to?
MINERVA: Well, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of follow-up to the initial question, or documentation of the men actually thinking about Rome. So really what this phenomenon is documenting is, if you surprise a guy with this question, how will they answer it? You’re sort of just exploring what random men think is a socially acceptable frequency with which to think about the Roman Empire.
MARS: Ugh, you overthink everything. No wonder you ended up ever-virgin.
ROMA: I’ve never overthought anything. Ever. So why have I ended up ever-virgin?
MARS: Seriously? You slaughter anyone who even approaches you. I’m terrified to try anything, and I’m the god of violence who dates the goddess of sexual psychosis.
BRITANNIA: I also had an empire that spanned the known world. Mine even crossed oceans. Are people talking about that?
MINERVA: Maybe if you spent more time paying attention to mortals, Mars, instead of sleeping with your sister-in-law, they’d be talking about you constantly, too.
ROMA: One of the most famous cities of all time.
BRITANNIA: An EMPIRE! That should also be trending!
MINERVA (putting on helmet, reaching for her spear): There’s only one way to settle this. Winner gets to be the subject of a bunch of mortal questions addressed to their significant other. Admittedly, this may be the stupidest thing we’ve fought over yet, and I helped start the Trojan War over a fruit.
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To explore how Rome became a global empire that continues to rock our modern world, enroll in CLAS-C 102 Roman Culture, coming up Spring 2024, and earn GEC credits while you’re at it! Or to learn more how we even know what we know (or think we know) about the Roman Empire, look for CLAS-C 414 Art and Archaeology of the Roman World, also coming Spring 2024, no pre-reqs or previous experience required. While you’re waiting, make sure to check back for the continued repatriation adventures of Minerva, Mars, and Roma (and occasionally Britannia). Or check out that time Dr. Thill was perplexed to be interviewed for TikTok. Can’t get enough of Ancient Greece and Rome? Earn a Classics Minor in just 15 credits!