The link between environmental disasters and societal collapse, explained.
The Roman Empire fell more than 1,500 years ago, but its grip on the popular imagination is still strong, as evidenced by a recent trend on TikTok. Women started filming the men in their lives to document their answers to a simple question: How often do you think about the Roman Empire?
There are a lot of reasons why people are fascinated by the rise and fall of ancient empires, gender dynamics aside. Part of what’s driving that interest is the question: How could something so big and so advanced fail? And, more pressingly: Could something similar happen to us? Between rampaging wildfires, a rise in political violence, and the public’s trust in government at record lows, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched that America could go up in smoke.