What Does All Roads Lead to Rome Mean?

All Roads Lead to Rome Meaning

Definition: There are many methods to get the same result.

This expression is used to convey that it doesn’t matter how something is done, but rather what the end result is.

Origin of All Roads Lead to Rome

In the past, starting from around the year 300 B.C., the Roman Republic (and later the Empire) began building many long, straight roads out of stone. These roadways were part of what made the Roman Empire so strong.

what does the expression all roads lead to rome meanThe vast network of roads included 29 major roads, and they connected all 113 of the empire’s provinces, with Rome itself at the center. They stretched all over most of what is now modern Europe, the Near East, and even into North Africa.

Therefore, historically speaking, it was relatively true that all roads led to Rome. Regardless of which way you went, assuming you were in Europe or North Africa, you could make a few turns and find yourself back on the way towards Rome.

The expression itself was used in its Latin form (mille viae ducunt homines per saecula Romam, literally “a thousand roads lead men forever to Rome.”) as early as the year 1175 by the French poet Alain de Lille.

Examples of All Roads Lead to Rome

origin of all roads lead to romeHere is an example of the idiom being used by a math professor and her student.

Student: I feel so frustrated. I can get the right answer, but I can’t do it the same way you showed us in class.

Teacher: Don’t worry. All roads lead to Rome, and as long as you show your work, all your correct answers will get full points on the test!

In this example, two family members are discussing a third family member’s life.

Mother: I worry about Arlena sometimes.

Grandmother: Why? She seems like a very devoted daughter.

Mother: Oh, she is. But I always thought she’d become a lawyer or a doctor. Now she wants to be a juggler. How can she ever live a happy and full life as a juggler?

Grandmother: Well, all roads lead to Rome. It will all be fine in the end. She’s a talented girl.

More Examples

  • Naturally, owing to differences in history, culture and stage of development, China, the United States and other countries may not have the exact same dream, and they pursue their dreams in different ways. But all roads lead to Rome. The dreams of various peoples, however different in meaning, are sources of inspiration for them, and all these dreams create important opportunities for China and the United States, as well as other countries to engage in cooperation. –The Wall Street Journal
  • Silva A. Arslanian, pediatric endocrinologist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, agrees there are many pathways to diabetes, but all have the common outcome of high blood-glucose levels. “As they say, all roads lead to Rome,” she said. –Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Summary

The phrase all roads lead to Rome is another way to say that there are multiple ways to reach the same outcome.