This is the full, unedited version of a piece that appeared earlier this year on the Heterodox Academy blog. The editor rightly suggested it was too long, and included too much detail for a general audience. I’m re-posting the full version here in case anyone wants to read the longer version, and because I thought it might be nice to add some pictures.

A small town in the West (of England)

In 705, a scholar-monk by the name of Aldhelm arrived in Sherborne, a small town in the West of England, to take up his appointment as the newly-established see’s…


Recently I was asked to review Liliane Lopez-Rabatel and Yves Sintomer’s edited volume Sortition and Democracy: History, Tools, Theories (Exeter: Imprint Academic, 2020) for Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought. I’ve sumitted the review, which should come out later this year in issue 38.3, but the journal’s word limit for reviews, and the richness of Lopez-Rabatel and Sintomer’s collection, left me with some additional material in my notes that I thought I would write up here.

The debate about Western Civilization continues to rage, with several different points of contention. Is the idea of a distinctive…


Soon after my article on Karl Popper and Plato appeared in the Journal of New Zealand Studies last year, David J. Riesbeck posted a gracious and thoughtful response to it here. I replied in two long comments, which I’m re-posting as one below. The rest of the exchange, which I found very worthwhile, is linked at the end of this post.

Thank you so much, David, for this very generous engagement with my piece. I think this is an excellent summary of what I’ve written, and also offers some useful criticisms and suggestions for further thought. I’m also very impressed…


This is the full, unedited version of a piece that appeared in January this year as part of a series on Western Civ and the classics in Quillette. The editor rightly suggested that this version was too dry for a general audience. I’m re-posting it here in case classicists find the longer version of interest, in particular its wider range of references to new approaches in the field, and the list of recommendations at the end.

ANU’s decision to reject a multi-million dollar gift from the Ramsay Centre has brought the issue of Western Civilization — what it is, and…


Some time after I published a piece on white supremacism and Classics, someone going by the name Maximus Planudes posted a response on these pages. I posted a longish comment in reply. This has now been removed, apparently by M.P., who also blocked me from seeing or commenting on any of his posts, and also added a comment calling me ‘a right-wing troll’ and implying that I’m a Fascist. (This comment was still there under his piece the last time I checked). I am re-posting my original comment on M.P.’s piece here. …

James Kierstead

Senior Lecturer in Classics, Victoria University of Wellington. Ancient democracy, classical liberalism, Old Comedy.

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