Classical Stuff You Should Know

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Sure, you read Plato’s Republic in college, but how much do you really remember? Did you know that a 12th century French poem, “The Song of Roland,” influenced J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth?

Classical Stuff You Should Know is an aptly titled podcast whose weekly episodes tackle important names, writings, and events that influenced the evolution of Western civilization—and continue to influence modern culture—from the philosophy of ancient Greece to the bloodshed of the English Civil War, from the legends of King Arthur to the poet John Milton’s biblical fan fiction.

The series hits the right mix between banter and information that will make you wish your history classes had been half as entertaining. Hosts Graeme Donaldson, A.J. Hanenburg, and Thomas Magbee are educators at the Austin, Texas–based Veritas Academy. The school’s Christian values are evident in the podcasters’ perspective, but the breadth and depth of their knowledge make for good listening even if you don’t share that specific lens. Although some on the right talk about “Western civilization” as cover for an exclusionist xenophobia, this podcast delivers substance without nasty politics and reveals the West as a set of ideas and accomplishments that need not be connected to nation or race.

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