Why Is Ancient Rome Such A Popular Setting?

By Kanyi M

There’s something about ancient Rome that appeals to both players and video game developers. The empire has been used in games, television shows, and movies since the 1950s, but no one seems to know why. Ancient Rome has always been a popular setting in video games, but the trend really took off during the rise of 3D graphics in games.

The first few 3D games were set in ancient Rome: Age of Empires, one of the most popular real-time strategy series, is set during the Roman Empire’s fall. Rome: Total War, a popular PC game, depicts Julius Caesar’s conquest of Gaul and Germania. And Total War Arena is an upcoming multiplayer version with 1st Century BC Roman maps and units.

Xbox Game Studios

Television shows and movies also have taken up the fascination with ancient Rome, both as a setting and as an influence on characters or plotlines. The popular historical show Rome was set during the Roman Republic, and Gladiator, a 2000 film, portrayed the bloody arena battles of early imperial Rome. There are plenty more examples — even cartoons. In fact, virtually every depiction of gladiators or Julio-Claudian emperors in cartoons, movies, or television shows has ancient Rome as its setting.

So why do people like Roman settings so much? The answer to that question requires us to look back at the ancient Romans themselves and how Christianity affected the world. We may not know all the exact reasons why ancient Rome is such a popular setting, but we can understand how it happened by looking at how Christianity changed society and culture.

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The Roman Empire was one of the most successful empires in history. It lasted for almost 1,800 years, and, at its peak during the reign of Hadrian (117-138 CE), was home to 50 million people. The Romans were an ambitious bunch who took control over nearly every territory on the continent except for Britain and Ethiopia — and they had many reasons as to why they achieved so much.