Aidan Mattis just wants to educate people, and make sure you understand – Rome did exist.
Mattis is a Medieval historian by education but his TikTok’s range pretty widely from talking about the bronze age to the history of the Confederate flag to cryptids.
He actually talks a lot about cryptids, a lot. Cryptids are animals that people claim to exist – but don’t. They’re mythological creatures. Think, Bigfoot or Aidan’s favorite, the Wendigo. Watch him explain what one is here – compared to another cryptid, a skinwalker.
Aidan has 1.1 million followers on Tiktok and a lot of them came from fact-checking. Another Tiktok account was serving up click-bait non-historical videos claiming that Rome and the Roman Empire were not real. The account stood by it, attacking anyone who questioned their… let’s say interesting take on history, and kept posting through it. Aidan couldn’t let that stand.
One of his followers commented on a video, “Hey, can you talk about mom millennials Rome isn’t real conspiracy?” He responded, “And I’m like, that’s not there’s no way, there’s no way, and I remembered her from her, Alexander the Great was a woman videos back over the summer, which is actually why she blocked me, is because I just totally derailed her. So I just downloaded all of them and started going through them and it was fascinating how somebody could… just be that wrong about something because, in the end, the weird part was like, I did not expect those videos to blow up in the way they did in multiple of them have over 1,000,000 views now.”
Aidan’s early education was a mix of homeschooling, and public school and it wasn’t until he got to college as a computer science major that he got into Medieval Studies. You can blame gaming for that. “I wanted to be a game designer and I wanted to be on the programing side of things. I was working on a game idea for I just me personally like what I wanted to design, and I wanted to make it like the Arthurian period up through maybe the Viking age. And so I was like, All right, who can I talk to? Who’s an expert in this? Reached out to the history department at Penn State because I was a freshman there. They put me in contact with Dr. Benjamin Hudson, and I went from being a comp sci major to medieval studies major in about three months because I was like, This is so cool and I suck at math. So this is where I want to be.“
He’s excited about the future of his place on TikTok and its ability to be a platform to educate people. “I mean, a video about Hadrian’s Wall that got over 1,000,000 views, that’s not that should not happen… I think that’s what’s great about TikTok on the one hand. People’s attention spans are minor. I say that as somebody who I myself struggled to focus on things for more than five minutes at a time.” His goal is to use Tiktok as a jumping-off point for people to go to his YouTube and Patreon accounts where he can speak on subjects more extensively.
In 2022 he plans to launch a subscription-based educational platform called The Learn Lodge. “There will be actual courses that are structured as if they were a classroom course. We’ll also have a free version that goes over basic concepts that will have people from all different humanities fields contributing to it. And most importantly, we are working on a book that is going to be an encyclopedia of American folklore.” he said.
If you’re a Hollywood exec reading this you might want to check out his screenplay – it’s a cross between National Treasure and Assassin’s Creed. It’s got everything he talks about on his TikTok – secret societies, ancient artifacts, and more. But until Hollywood calls, there’s teaching.