What The Romans Have Done For Us

Peoples' Front of Judea Member: Brought peace?
Reggie: Oh, peace—SHUT UP!

Many tyrants and invaders will claim they make life better for their subjects, but sometimes it's true. Even the most devoted revolutionaries will admit that in some ways life was even worse before the tyrant took power.

Compare No Delays for the Wicked, Benevolent Alien Invasion, and The Extremist Was Right.


  • In Fallout: New Vegas Caesar's Legion is generally hated and feared in the Mojave Wasteland, being a merciless slave empire. However, a couple of people admit that they've done a better job at keeping their territories safe from raiders than the democratic NCR has.
  • On the Discworld, many Ankh-Morpork elites dislike Vetinari, because he opened the city to dwarf and troll immigrants and is generally unorthodox. Still, they admit that the city safer and more prosperous than it has been in a long time, and Vetinari's predecessors were much worse. It's why he has Vetinari Job Security.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms setting, supplement Forgotten Realms Adventures. After Cormyr invaded Tilverton there was much grumbling by the inhabitants. However, the influx of Cormyrean merchants and trade increased their wealth, and the military garrison and the wall erected around the town reduced raiding by bandits and monsters.
  • The Simpsons: In the David and Goliath segment of "Simpsons Bible Stories" after Bart/David kills Nelson/Goliath II he is jailed for regicide because it turns out in addition to being a tyrant he built roads and hospitals and he was a better and more loved king than Bart/David.
  • Adam Hart-Davis hosted a series of documentaries titled "What The [Civilisation]s Did For Us" which focused on how some generally unpopular periods in British history (Roman occupation, Victorian times) lead to important parts of British society.
  • Undercover Brother has a bit probably inspired by Monty Pythons Life Of Brian, although replace Jews and the Roman Empire with African-Americans and the Republican Party.
  • A sketch on Horrible Histories has the wife of a crusader saying "Aside from [reels off a list of everything brought back from the Crusades] what have the Crusades done for me?"
    • Inverted in any sketch that brings up Puritan Rule in England, they never fail to mention Oliver Cromwell banned Music, Theatre, Sport and Christmas.
  • The Penn & Teller: Bullshit! episode "Holier Than Thou" points out that while the Chinese have generally stomped on civil rights and horrendously mistreated Tibetans, they have given Tibet electricity, running water, and secular education.
  • In the second Infinity Blade novel, after the Worker of Secrets plants an imposter God King on the throne to eliminate the real one's ties to his allies and access to his resources while letting his empire fall to ruin through complete lack of leadership, Siris and Isa bitterly admit that, while the God King was a cruel, megalomaniacal tyrant, his rule was still much better than the current anarchy. It even turns out that the cruelty was just a ploy to rile up the population enough to send the Sacrifice needed to power the titular Infinity Blade every generation, and he decides that after Siris and Isa (begrudgingly) help him reclaim his throne, his people are due for a few millennia's worth of Golden Age.