Tom Holland

Easter special: how forgiveness was forgotten

36 min listen

This week: how forgiveness was forgotten, why the secular tide might be turning, and looking for romance at the British museum.  Up first: The case of Frank Hester points to something deep going on in our culture, writes Douglas Murray in the magazine this week. ‘We have never had to deal with anything like this

Children and slaves first

In the reign of Constantine, whose conversion to Christianity in AD 310 set the entire Roman world on a course to becoming Christian, a Palestinian scholar named Eusebius pondered the reasons for the triumph of his faith. Naturally, he saw behind it the guiding hand of God; but he did not rest content with that

From The Archives: Tom Holland

45 min listen

As Sam is still away, we’ve dug out one our favourite podcasts from the archives. Back in 2019 Sam spoke to the historian Tom Holland, about his book Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind. The book, though as Tom remarks, you might not know it from the cover, is essentially a history of Christianity and

The desecration of Stonehenge

The Conservative party, over the course of its lengthy history, has been defined by two particular traditions. One emphasis the duty of care to the past. It nurtures a suspicion of grandiose and ill-founded schemes. It never forgets that the responsibility of a conservative is ultimately to conserve. Then, parallel to this, there is a

How to plan the ultimate English road trip

Huge excitement last week, as archaeologists announced the discovery in Southwark of the best preserved Roman mausoleum ever found in Britain. I heard the news on the radio while driving with a friend, and both of us – living as we do south of the river – cheered. Shortly afterwards, I was invited on to

Christmas Special

65 min listen

Welcome to the special Christmas episode of The Edition! Up first: What a year in politics it has been. 2022 has seen five education secretaries, four chancellors, three prime ministers and two monarchs. But there is only one political team that can make sense of it all. The Spectator’s editor Fraser Nelson, deputy political editor Katy Balls

The red line: Biden and Xi’s secret Ukraine talks

38 min listen

On this week’s podcast: Could China be the key to peace in Ukraine? In his cover piece for the magazine this week Owen Matthews reveals the covert but decisive role China is playing in the Ukraine war. He is joined by The Spectator’s Cindy Yu, to discuss what Xi’s motivations are (00:53).  Also this week:  Harriet Sergeant

In defence of pigeons

I have done absolutely nothing this past year except pound away at a book. For complicated logistical reasons that are far too boring to go into, I discovered last summer – rather in the manner of a Bank of England economist blindsided by the inflation rate – that I had badly miscalculated how long I

The prickly truth: hedgehogs face a struggle to survive

No wild animal is closer to the hearts of the British than the hedgehog. In poll after poll, it has been voted our favourite mammal. This is hardly surprising. Hedgehogs naturally inspire affection. Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, the companionable washerwoman created by Beatrix Potter, is only the most celebrated of a whole host of them who trot

The anxieties that long ago shadowed Christmas are back

Christmas has been given the green light by the government this year less because it marks the birth of Christ than because retailers and the hospitality industry desperately need it to go ahead. Other feast days in the Christian calendar still belong to the church. Christmas is the feast day that a fundamentally secular nation

The history of Thebes is as mysterious as its Sphinx

The Spartans were not the only Greeks to die at Thermopylae. On the fateful final morning of the battle, when Leonidas, knowing that the pass had been sold, ordered the vast majority of the contingents stationed at the Hot Gates to retreat and live to fight another day, two detachments stayed behind to join the

Sugared with wit: How ‘Mr Spectator’ came to life

The Spectator is a child of the 19th century, and damned proud of it. First published in 1828, the link provided by its 10,000 issues to a long-vanished age of Regency waistlines and Romantic poets is one of the great wonders of journalism. Its success was built upon Victorian foundations, yet it is a peculiarity

Revelations about the prophet

In 2011, when the editor of Charlie Hebdo put Muhammad on the cover, he did so as the heir to more than 200 years of a peculiarly French brand of anti-clericalism. Just as radicals in the Revolution had desecrated churches and smashed icons, so did cartoonists at France’s most scabrous magazine delight in satirising religion.

The way of the cross

Declarations of hope that Notre Dame can be resurrected have been much in evidence this Holy Week. Such is the lesson of Easter: that life can come from death. Unlike the Eiffel Tower, that other great emblem of Paris, Notre Dame provides the French with evidence that their modern and secular republic has its foundations

Decline and fall | 8 November 2018

For a millennium and a half now, one of the great pleasures of being a commentator on current affairs has been comparing a political crisis to the fall of the Roman Empire. Nothing recently has quite so turbo-charged this perennial trend like the presidency of Donald Trump. The flamboyant egotism, the patent amorality, the porn

Fallen franchise

Back in the mists of prehistory, when I was eight, dinosaur films followed a set pattern. The dinosaurs themselves would be cheerfully unpalaeontological; women would wear improbable outfits; volcanoes would explode. Then, in 1993, courtesy of Steven Spielberg, came a sea-change. Jurassic Park was that cinematic rarity: a science fiction film that succeeded in influencing

The photograph that filled me with terror

This time last year, in a review for The Spectator of two books on extraterrestrial life, I mentioned how, as a child, the highlight of the summer holidays was when my cousin Simon came to stay. Our great shared passion was mysteries: not only flying saucers, but everything from the Loch Ness Monster to Atlantis