The fin-de-siècle London metropolis was the glittering capital of empire but also the site of overcrowding, disease, and perceived degeneration. One way writers could articulate the opportunities and anxieties inherent in modern urban existence and debate the social, moral and physical condition of the London metropolitan male was through parallels with ancient Rome. This spoke directly to urban existence, the glory of the empire, and the fear of degeneration. The health and vigor of the New Imperialist was captured while also focusing conservative fears about the deviance or degeneracy of the urban male. This article examines the dual significance of ancient Rome by analyzing the increasing prevalence of Roman parallels in journalism, fiction, and new popular entertainments such as the toga play, which emerge in this period and function as a means of expressing anxieties about modern urban existence and the new, distinctly Neronian figure of the Decadent.