Classical Stuff You Should Know

By A.J. Hanenburg, Graeme Donaldson, and Thomas Magbee

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Subscribers: 485
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Episodes: 368

 Mar 28, 2022
Graeme, A.J., and Thomas are fun, knowledgeable, and quirky guides through some surprisingly relevant classical works. Informative and thought-provoking podcast!


A.J., Graeme, and Thomas discuss everything having to do with the classical world. Our aim is to help both educators and laypeople enjoy the classical world as much as they enjoy fine ales and good tales.

Episode Date
231: The Plague
In this episode, we discuss a central question in "The Plague" by Camus. Luckily, we avoid the central tenets of existentialism which now apparently raise the hackles of both Graeme AND Thomas. A.J. still likes it, though, and since he's writing this description, he gets to say that the other guys are ninnies, and he's right.
May 23, 2023
230: The Gold Standard
In this episode, we discuss how the different monetary paradigms have affected history. Turns out, it's kinda hard to make things run if you are just trading shoes back and forth.
May 02, 2023
229: Thought Experiments
In this episode we discuss a few of the famous thought experiments and their purpose in general. Also, it's totally not the same boat.
Apr 25, 2023
228: The Pomposity of ChatGPT
In this episode, we review some common writing errors . . . errors that robots commit. Darn Robits are stealin' our jerbs.
Mar 28, 2023
227: The final Kantdown
This is the last of the four part series on Kant's "Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals." While I don't feel like I nailed the first bit, I think we ended in a good place.
Mar 14, 2023
226: War of the Roses 6: Wormwood
In this episode, Graeme continues his series on the War of the Roses. The catatonic king finally wakes up, a guy fights the king in order to save him, and Clifford doesn't make an appearance.
Mar 07, 2023
225: Festschrift
In this episode, we discuss the collection of essays written in honor of Andrew Kern, "Liber Amicorum."
Feb 21, 2023
224: Kant IV: Get them endsssss
In this episode, we continue with chapter two of Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, by Immanuel Kant. Our Hackles. They are raised.
Feb 14, 2023
223: The War of the Roses 5: The Mad King
Graeme continues his series on the War of the Roses. New this week: a dude who fights without armor on, a military parade, and the mad king. It's like Game of Thrones, except real and sadly lacking Peter Dinklage.
Jan 25, 2023
222: Leaf by Niggle by Tolkien
Tolkien once wrote a story that totally isn't an allegory. Not even one bit. We discuss that story (totally an allegory) in this episode. Also, Horticulture! We don't discuss it, just been thinking about it lately.
Jan 17, 2023
221: The Discarded Image
In C.S. Lewis's "The Discarded Image," he discusses the complex medieval notion of the cosmos. So . . . we do it too in this episode. Boom.
Dec 20, 2022
220: I Kant Stop: "Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals" pt. DEUX
In this episode, we continue to journey through a small work by Kant that he thought had great potential for popularity. I DOUBT IT.
Dec 13, 2022
219: War of the Roses 4: The Bookish King Lands a Hottie
In this episode, we talk about the exploits of Henry VI, the bookish king. He gets a best friend, a lady, and he gives away some land. Things get crazy.
Nov 16, 2022
218: I just Kant: "Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals"
Ever have trouble deciding the right course of action!? LUCKILY, Kant is here to help with a handy tool!
Nov 01, 2022
217: The Nicomachean Ethics on why children are bad
In this episode, Graeme walks us through how our happiness is a rational thing, and since kids can't be rational . . . they bad.
Oct 25, 2022
216: Plato's Crito
We finish out the saga of Socrates's trial and death. In this one, Socrates defends why he's sticking around to guzzle some hemlock.
Sep 27, 2022
215: Learning in Wartime
In 1939, C.S. Lewis gave a sermon to some Oxford boys about whether it's okay to study books when there are Nazis to fight.
Sep 20, 2022
214: Plato's Apology
He's God's gift to Athens, so punish him with free meals.
Sep 13, 2022
213: Coleridge and the Rime of the Ancient Mariner
In this episode: zombies, insane children, opium addicts, constipation, and A.J.'s awful mariner accent
Sep 06, 2022
212: Plato's Dialogue, "Euthyphro"
As Socrates waits in line for his own trial, he chats up a fellow named Euthyphro who plans to denounce his own father. They end up discussing the definition of piety until Euthyphro politely excuses himself from the conversation.
Aug 30, 2022
211: War of the Roses 3: The Romantic Queen and the Monkish King
In this episode, we follow the aftermath of the death of Henry V. His son, Henry VI, likes hiking, and his widow, Catherine, likes dudes.
Aug 23, 2022
210: Children's Lit - Live at Paideia!
This episode was recorded live at the Paideia conference at Veritas Academy in 2022. In this episode, we roast a critic who hates fun things.
Aug 16, 2022
209: The Social Contract: Rousseau goes ham all over Christianity
Christians are bad for government, I guess.
Aug 10, 2022
208: War of the roses: The Battle of Agincourt
This episode is the continuation of the War of the Roses, and it tells the story of Henry V and The Battle of Agincourt.
Aug 02, 2022
207: Nietzsche, Leopardi, and the Meaning of Meaning
In this episode, we complete our series on "The Genealogy of Morals." We talk about the heritage of Schopenhauer and how that has affected Freddy's philosophy.
Jul 26, 2022
206: War of the Roses: The Roots
The long awaiting continuance of the Plantagenets series finally arrives! Graeme plunges us back into a little UK history.
Jul 19, 2022
205: The Social Contract 2: Electric Boogaloo
This is part two of the short series on Jean Jacques Rousseau's "The Social Contract." Just one more!
Jul 12, 2022
204: Frederick Douglass on the 5th of July
In this episode, Thomas walks us through the context and performance of Frederick Douglass's speech given to the ladies of the "Rochester Anti-Slavery Sewing Society" in Corinthian Hall on July 5th. The speech does not suck.
Jul 05, 2022
203: Bronowski's "The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination"
"WHAT IS MATH!?" hollers the girl on TikTok. Turns out she's right. Any system requires reference to an external system to make itself consistent, but any system is only a metaphor for the whole. Trust me, it makes sense. This is a cool episode about math and science.
Jun 28, 2022
202: Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "The Social Contract" (Compact?)
Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "The Social Contract" laid the political ground for the French Revolution and probably the American Revolution too. This is just part 1 . . . MORE TO COME.
Jun 21, 2022
201: On the Genealogy of Morality
In this episode, we discuss Nietzsche's work, "On the Genealogy of Morality," in which he discusses the history of morality through tracing the words used to describe it. We also talk about a recent film that's pretty good, and poor poor Leopardi again. Join us!
Jun 15, 2022
200: What are Wordsworth?
In this episode we track Wordsworth's view of how to stay happy in life, specifically through two poems: "Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey," and "Elegiac Stanzas Suggested by a Picture of Peele Castle in a Storm, Painted by Sir George Beaumont." Turns out he was idealistic when he was young and cranky when he was old. WHO KNEW
May 31, 2022
199: The Master and Margarita
During Stalin's regime in Russia there was one author daring enough to write a Satire . . . one that I can't quite nail down. I ask Graeme to help me.
May 24, 2022
198: The Proslogion
The Proslogion contains Anselm of Canterbury's Ontological Argument, which is still argued about in philosophical circles today. It's not really convincing, except that it is.
May 03, 2022
197: Sympathy and Satan
We discuss the romantic movement and how they interpret Paradise Lost to be other than what it really is. Also, we get cranky about bad guys.
Apr 26, 2022
196: Giacomo Leopardi
This one is about an Italian hunchback who lives with his mom and writes nihilistic poetry about women he can't get. You can't make this stuff up.
Apr 19, 2022
195: Isaac Asimov's "Foundation"
Asimov's excellent sci-fi trilogy is worth a read. Plus, space capitalism!
Apr 12, 2022
194: Ulysses, by James Joyce
I have finally tackled the (rumored) most difficult book in the English language. Feel free to send me any money you've got for the service I just rendered you.
Apr 05, 2022
An Interview with Joshua Gibbs
Thomas was kind enough to reach out to Joshua Gibbs for an interview, and the results speak for themselves. Joshua is a renowned figure in the classical world, and we're happy to have him (and his great big bushy beard) on the podcast.
Mar 29, 2022
193: So Your Parents are Thinking of Sending You to a Classical Christian School
Josh Gibbs decided to write a pamphlet to kids trembling at the notion of going to a classical school. We, clearly a bunch of children, decided to read it.
Mar 22, 2022
192: Waiting for Godot
Nothing to be done.
Mar 08, 2022
191: Atlas Shrugged and the Therapeutic Man
In this episode, drawing three books together, Graeme leads us through a discussion about Atlas Shrugged in light of the Therapeutic man . . . and Raskolnikov.
Mar 01, 2022
190: Herodotus IV: Cambyses "The Passable"
In this installment of Thomas's series on the Landmark Herodotus, we talk about the reign of Cambyses, who gave bad gifts, had bad spies, and couldn't pull back a fancy bow. He was cranky about it.
Feb 22, 2022
189: Leibniz and the best of all possible worlds
Leibniz's theory of the best of all possible worlds helps to explain the problem of evil in Theism. "Oh nuh uh" says Voltaire. He wrote Candide in response.
Feb 15, 2022
188: Four reasons why classical education can't happen
In this episode, we discuss David Hicks's (yep, THAT David Hicks, the one who wrote "Norms and Nobility") article "Is Classical Education Still Possible?" If we agree with him, it could mean that two of us are out of a job, and three of us are out of a podcast.
Feb 08, 2022
In Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," a character gives a two-hundred-page-long speech on objectivism, her philosophy. Hey, if you're looking for an ethos that gives you both independence AND cash, you're in the right place.
Feb 01, 2022
186: The Tao Te Ching
This is our first real venture into eastern philosophy. The Tao Te Ching is from the 4th century BC, and lemme tell ya, I've never wanted to be simple like an infant more.
Jan 18, 2022
185: Causation
In this episode, we ponder the four causes and unravel the mysteries of the universe. Well, Thomas does. We ruffle his feathers while he does good work.
Jan 11, 2022
184: Advice from a Deep Friar
Sometimes you have feelings. Romeo is one such person who has feelings. Graeme, inspired by a previous episode, ponders on whether Romeo is an existentialist, meaning that the philosophy is immature.
Nov 30, 2021
183: Existentialism is a Humanism
Existence precedes essence. If you don't know what that means, you're making a statement about how all men should be, you non-existentialist, you. DID YOU KNOW THAT!?!?
Nov 23, 2021
182: Herodotus III: Egypt and Water Horses
Continuing on in the Landmark Herodotus, we get to a chapter which earns him the moniker, "Father of Lies." Overstating it a bit, don't you think?
Nov 02, 2021
181: Great Expectations
In this episode, we discuss Charles Dickens's "Great Expectations." But you know, if you keep your expectations low, it's harder to be disappointed. I guess, in a way, that's the point of this book.
Oct 26, 2021
180: Herodotus II: Cyrus the Virus
In this second episode on the Landmark Herodotus, we discuss the exploits of Cyrus the great. You can look forward to: baby swapping, kid kingdom, and blood wine for the dead!
Oct 12, 2021
179: The Enchiridion, by Epictetus
The writings of Epictetus are some of the only stoic manuscripts that survive. The Enchiridion is his essential handbook for the budding acolyte of Stoicism.
Oct 05, 2021
178: Foil
A literary foil is something in the story that exists to highlight the characteristics of the protagonists. COULD IT BE that literature is a foil for us!? I THINK YES.
Sep 28, 2021
177: How to Solve the Trolley Problem
The Trolley problem presents a perfect study case from which to look at different ethical viewpoints. But . . . come on. You know you'd pull the lever. It's just the right thing to do.
Sep 21, 2021
176: The Communist Manifesto
In 1848, a small group of social philosophers publish a little pamphlet with big wings: The Communist Manifesto. This podcast is about that thing.
Sep 14, 2021
175: Sir Gawain and the Decent Film
In this episode we talk about the differences in theme and construction between the recent (pretty solid) film about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the poem by the same name.
Sep 07, 2021
174: Herodotus, History, and Happiness
Herodotus put together a pretty stellar history, and the Landmark version is a stellar translation of it. In this episode we discuss the book and several stories from it.
Aug 31, 2021
173: The Happy Equation
Arthur Brooks, a researcher of happiness at Harvard, has distilled his research about happiness into a simple equation. Want to know how to be happy? Turns out this is the way.
Aug 24, 2021
172: Intro to the Epics
The Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid are all part of one story. That story was common knowledge for the Greeks, but mostly unknown to us moderns. This episode is that story, giving the context necessary for understanding the Iliad, which begins in the middle of things.
Aug 17, 2021
171: A Retrospective from the Ombudsman of Fun
Thomas has recently left his position as the Dean of Student Life at Veritas. These are the things he's learned.
Jul 13, 2021
170: John Donne and a Crash Course to Poetry
A.J. has always struggled with his views of poetry as a genre. He might have finally sorted it out with the help of John Donne.
Jul 06, 2021
169: Kierkegaard's "Fear and Trembling"
Kierkegaard faced the absurdity of the universe, the absurdity of faith, and held both in tension. In this episode we explore his book "Fear and Trembling" as it traces the mystifying story of Abraham and Isaac.
Jun 29, 2021
168: The Tempest
Shakespeare's "The Tempest" is a bit of a mystery of a play, especially since nothing really happens.
Jun 22, 2021
167: How We Got the Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is for those of us who don't always know what to say. So . . . all of us. Thomas gives us a little history, then a quick rundown of the book.
Jun 17, 2021
166: Machiavelli's "The Prince" 2: Pie Fortress
This is the second half of A.J.'s series on Machiavelli's "The Prince." It addresses how a prince can establish a reputation. We also chat about pie.
Jun 08, 2021
165: The Great Divorce
"The Great Divorce," by C.S. Lewis, recounts a bus trip to heaven. We discuss the Problem of Evil in the perspective of the book.
Jun 01, 2021
164: Euclid and his "Elements"
Euclid's "Elements" was the math text for over a thousand years. We all try to do a proof, and we end up with something looking like an Eiffel Tower.
May 25, 2021
163: Machiavelli's "The Prince" or "How to kill friends and influence people."
Machiavelli was a statesman that wanted back into the good graces of the Medici. It half worked. This is a discussion of the work that was supposed to do the job of charming the prince. It's entitled, shockingly, "The Prince."
May 18, 2021
162: Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
Jane Austen is a delight, and her novel Pride and Prejudice is no exception. In this episode, we review the book and talk about what it takes to change as drastically as Elizabeth and Darcy.
May 11, 2021
161: Rodin's Gates of Hell
While "The Gates of Paradise" mark one of the first uses of perspective in sculpture, Rodin's "Gates of Hell," made much later in response, chronicle the existential despair of human suffering, so that's great!
May 04, 2021
160: Modern Maths
"A Mathematician's Lament," by Paul Lockhart, mourns the way we teach math to children. In many ways, he's right. A.J. will probably still find something to complain about, though.
Apr 27, 2021
159: Satan in Despair, from Milton's Paradise Lost
We all get depressed sometimes. We take a look at when Satan gets the feels in Milton's Paradise Lost.
Apr 20, 2021
158: Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise
Lorenzo Ghiberti sculpted what are perhaps the most famous doors of human history. You can see them in Florence (if you go to a museum), or you can listen to this podcast and see them in your mind's eye. If you want to view them online, we've included a link in the show-notes on our website.
Apr 13, 2021
157: The Intellectual Life
Even smart people need a little direction sometimes (except for Graeme, who is perfect always), and The Intellectual Life by A.G. Sertillanges helps us all in the disciplines of intellectualism.
Apr 06, 2021
156: The Faust and the Furious 2: Mopey Ol' Stiff
The rest of Goethe's Faust is flat bananas, and it ends with a devil flirting with Angels. I can't even. (Also, please don't miss my rhyming pun with "Tokyo Drift." I'm convinced puns are extra good if you have to explain them.)
Mar 30, 2021
155: The Cathars, or "Helios's Acolytes of Love"
Let's talk about gnosticism. Let's talk about heresy. Let's talk about Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie's book, "Montaillou, Cathars and Catholics in a French village, 1294-1324." Let's talk about starting our own cult.
Mar 23, 2021
154: Herding cats the right way according to Milton
As the archangel Michael boots Adam and Eve from Paradise, he gives Adam a vision of the future to, you know, make him feel better. Adam then says that he knows what is right now, and that man only has to obey. Was Milton making a statement about the ways in which we should conduct ourselves in regard to curiosity? I mean, probs.
Mar 16, 2021
153: The Faust and the Furious 1
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust is a breathtaking German masterpiece of literature written by a rock collector. In this episode, we do the first bit of part one.
Feb 09, 2021
152: Bamboozled by "A History of Private Life"
"A History of Private Life" is a look at the culture of Rome from the perspective of the commoner. What was it like to be a regular ol' Joe during the time of the Caesars?
Feb 02, 2021
151: Is the Bible Busted?
The Bible has passages that are seemingly contradictory. In this episode, Graeme leads us through a case study of one of such contradiction and why it might be exactly what it seems.
Jan 26, 2021
150: The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus
Christopher Marlowe was a contemporary of Shakespeare's, and he wrote poorly. Specifically, he wrote eponymous play for this episode. Not only that but SPY STUFF?!?
Jan 19, 2021
149: Perelandra
In this episode we discuss C.S. Lewis's Perelandra and learn how to punch evil in the mouth.
Jan 12, 2021
148: Ackbethmay (I'm sitting in a theater)
Bubble Bubble, Toil and Trouble, Graeme discusses witches' stubble. Tells to Burg and 'splains to Bees, That's all that we do this week. Okay, so we talk about Macbeth and how all of the weird stuff that happens with Nature in this book is an inroads into the real themes of the play.
Jan 05, 2021
147: 'Sall Good
Magbee worries that A.J. is a little too fascinated with evil, so A.J. leaned into it and investigated how we currently think of evil. We follow the train of thought from Augustine to Aquinas. Turns out everything is pretty great.
Dec 29, 2020
146: A Defense of Christmas
Josh Gibbs, a favorite of ours, just put out a new book containing essays on Christmas. We discuss them here. Because Christmas is awesome, and you should awesome too.
Dec 22, 2020
145: Planting the Seeds of Poetry and "The Fall of Rome"
In this episodes, we discuss how biography and the artist affect our interpretation, or really, how it shouldn't. We also read W.H. Auden's "The Fall of Rome." It's good I guess.
Dec 15, 2020
144: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Alright, don't get cross with me. I did a more modern book. It's interesting, though, and we talk a little about LSD, some about busses, and a bunch about gambling. See? It's fun.
Dec 08, 2020
143: Purgatoryhohoho
We've reached the final summit of Purgatory, and lemme tell ya. Things get a little weird in this one. We've got eagles, random giants, a parade, and more!
Dec 01, 2020
142: Purgatorybro
we're nearing the top of the mountain of Dante's Purgatorio with the illustrious Thomas Magbee leading the charge. We talk to some more sinners, walk through some fire, and leave Virgil behind. Plus, fanboy.
Nov 24, 2020
141: Camus's "The Myth of Sisyphus"
First, I get it, I hate the extra s after the apostrophe, but what're you gonna do, the MLA team are a bunch of nut jobs. That said, it doesn't matter anyway. We're all just doomed forever.
Nov 17, 2020
140: Till [The Romantics] Have Faces
Graeme wrote his grad thesis on C.S. Lewis's "Till We Have Faces." Prepare to laugh your way through an episode, because--hoo boy--Graeme's grad paper was a doozy. It's like reading "Modeland" by Tyra Banks, but with less mascara.
Nov 10, 2020
139: Purgatory, Yo
Turns out, purgatory is great for fitness. In this episode, Thomas continues to guide us through Dante's Purgatorio, and we learn about Envy, Pride, Sloth, and Wrath.
Nov 03, 2020
138: The Stranger
In Camus's excellent (and refreshingly brief) novel, he embraces the absurd. Also, murder! Days at the sea! A.J. wonders if he's broken at his core!
Oct 27, 2020
137: I See Satan Fall Again, or "Lightning Does Strike Twice"
In this episode we finish discussing man's tendency to let our mimetic rivalry escalate into scandal, leading to an eventual sacrificial scapegoat. Honestly, it all seems kinda fun to me.
Oct 20, 2020
136: Crime and Punishment
In the middle of Dostoyevsky's excellent book, the main character discusses an article he's written on "The Great Man," so we decide to do the same thing (while adding a little background and summary at the same time).
Oct 13, 2020
135: Pastoral Theology and the Classical Tradition
Magbee, a counselor in his own right, discusses Andrew Purves's book. How should one view counseling and brain chemistry, pastoring and sin? It's a toughy, and that's coming from somebody with SAD. Seriously. I have a thing called "S.A.D." that makes me sad.
Oct 06, 2020
134: I See Satan Fall Like Lightning
Whenever Graeme likes to say something intelligent, one thing that I apparently love to do is fasten on one small element of his argument and dig my heels in. This week, it's about birds that love each other. The rest of the podcast is a cool thing about psychological readings of scripture.
Sep 29, 2020
133: Don Quixote
Don Quixote is a fun book about an old guy who hates windmills. Or maybe it's an epoch defining work of genius. Or maybe it's a book about the dangers of romance.
Sep 22, 2020
132: The Poetic Edda 2: An Otter Named "Otter"
The second part of The Poetic Edda concerns the exploits of one family of Norse Heroes. Intrigue? Check. Regicide? Check. A pair of shape-shifting brothers, one of whom is an otter that loves munching fish? Double check.
Sep 15, 2020
131: Intellectus for the Rest of Us
Philosophers always say that the best life is the life of a philosopher, the life of contemplation. I have always disagreed. Listen to Graeme change my mind (this is A.J., by the way).
Sep 08, 2020
130: Why English teachers ARE liars
In this episode, we discuss a psychological reading of Beowulf, and why it fails to approach the text honestly. Weirdly, we all agree. The whole crew. It's strange.
Sep 01, 2020
129: The Poetic Edda: "Odin's Pickled Head"
The Poetic Edda are the primary source for most of our information on Norse Mythology. They also happen to be the most heavy-metal myths you've ever heard. Half-corpse god of Hell named "Hel"? Yes, please.
Aug 25, 2020
128: Antonio Gramsci
Antonio Gramsci was a Marxist, and we see some of his theories finding purchase today. Don't worry, we don't really get political, but we do discuss the ideas themselves.
Aug 18, 2020
127: Plato X - "Er Goes to Hell"
In book X of Plato's Republic, he rails on imitative poetry some more, argues for the immortality of the soul, and tells a creepy story about a guy named "Er."
Aug 11, 2020
126: Patronage
In the old'n days, an artist was like a parasite, but a friendly one. You know, like those birds who clean the teeth of alligators. In this episode we discuss the relationship between patron and artist.
Aug 04, 2020
125: Plato IX: Tyrone
We're almost there, guys, and this is the penultimate chapter of Plato's republic. This one is all about tyranny. A tyranny named Tyrone.
Mar 31, 2020
124: Government Shmovernment
As a follow up to book IX of the republic, Graeme leads us on a thought journey to the medieval land of government. So strap on your cassock and let's get weird.
Mar 24, 2020
123: Purgatorio: not just what a happy, Italian cat says
We've done Dante's Inferno before, so Thomas introduces us to his Purgatorio in this episode. Doesn't "Purgatorio" sound like the Italian version of famous horror movie "The Purge"? It isn't, though.
Mar 17, 2020
122: Plato VIII: Aaron, Timmy, Ollie, Dmitri, and Tyrone
In book eight of Plato's Republic, Socrates discusses the degradation of an Aristocracy into more mediocre forms of government. Spoiler, democracy is not near the top.
Mar 10, 2020
121: The Ballad of The White Horse, or "Black Beauty II, The Prequel"
There's a big ol' white horse made of rocks in the UK, and Chesterton wrote some poem about it or whatever. It's okay I guess. Maybe worth a quick jaw wag.
Mar 03, 2020
120: Climbing Parnassus Two: Electric Boogaloo
Thomas leads us further up the mountain as we discuss "Climbing Parnassus" by Tracy Lee Simmons. Greek and Latin, he argues, are the organizing principle for classical education. Also, it impresses people when you can tell them what all those words on the dollar bill mean.
Feb 25, 2020
119: Plato VII: Math till you're thirty.
Plato finally gets us to the allegory of the cave. We find out that we're just dudes, dudes in a cave, dudes staring at a wall.
Feb 18, 2020
118: What is love? Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more.
Did you know that humans used to be eight limbed creatures that rolled around like silly marshmallows? Yeah, neither did we.
Feb 11, 2020
117: Potty. I mean pottery. Wait . . . poetry. Nailed it.
In this actually good episode, Graeme talks about readings of poetry. How do you balance a traditional reading with your own experience? With scales, friend. Scales.
Feb 04, 2020
116: Plato VI: Philosophers are Wasters and Charlatans
Because of an unexpected illness, A.J. is back on the Plato train till he can get some Mongolian epic ready.
Jan 28, 2020
115:After Virtue
Graeme summarizes the book that is once removed from Lewis's "Abolition of Man": "After Virtue." And I give an awkward intro, as always. Sheesh.
Jan 21, 2020
114: Climbing Parnassus
Thomas guides us through "Climbing Parnassus," a defense of classical education and . . . uh . . . THE ELITE?
Jan 14, 2020
A house, a play, a baby: three reasons why this advent season we're taking a little bit of a break. We'll be back in January with season 2 of Classical Stuff.
Dec 03, 2019
113: Knights Templar, Part III: Friday the 13th. For serious.
This is the final episode in the Templar trilogy, and we finally find out what happened to those rascally Templar. Basically, they became the illuminati and Kanye joined. Wait. Just kidding. No he didn't. Ignore that. Shoot. I'm going to answer to Kanye for this. Dang it! I've gotta keep my trap shut.
Nov 19, 2019
112: The Republic V: Plato and the Battle Children
Plato just keeps getting weirder. This chapter seems to be an aside addressing something he glossed over earlier: having women and children in common. That, and he's probably the first true feminist. Oh wait. No he isn't.
Nov 12, 2019
111: Harold Bloom, Clearly a Gardener
The recent passing of Harold necessitates a bit of a memorial from the Classical Stuff boys. In this episode we discuss Harold's legacy, anxiety, and reading.
Nov 05, 2019
110: The Republic, Book IV
This is the fourth installment of our series on Plato's Republic. In this one we finally get to the meaning of justice. We also feel bad for some of the warriors. They're getting a pretty raw deal.
Oct 29, 2019
109: Divergence, Convergence, and Wisdom
In this episode, Thomas reads from "A Guide for the Perplexed." We discuss how seemingly contradictory viewpoints are sometimes not so contradictory.
Oct 22, 2019
108: The Knights Templar, Part II, or "It's Pronounced 'Kinnigget'"
We continue our long journey toward Jerusalem with the Templar. In this episode: Assassins who would vote in favor of the "legalize it" legislation, leper kings, a bunch of bros who go to Jerusalem to get gold, and REALLY INTENSE HANDSHAKES.
Oct 15, 2019
107: The Knights Templar, Part I
The Knights Templar weren't always the folks running our governments and engineering the weather. Once upon a time, they were holy mercenaries.
Oct 08, 2019
106: St. Francesco
St. Francis lived a colorful life, one full of passion, boldly stated vows, and animal congregations.
Oct 01, 2019
105: The Republic, Book III
This is the continuation of the series on Plato's Republic. Book III is where Plato goes a little off the rails. Got a terminal disease? Might as well kick the bucket.
Sep 24, 2019
104: Commonplace
The commonplace book is a compendium of knowledge gleaned from years of reading, but it has to start somewhere.
Sep 17, 2019
103: Something They Will Not Forget
In this episode we discuss Josh Gibbs's excellent book, "Something They Will Not Forget." Check it. It's pretty solid.
Sep 10, 2019
102: The Republic: Book 2
This episode is the continuation of A.J.'s series on Plato's Republic.
Sep 03, 2019
101: Mimesis, Kind of
In this episode, Graeme teaches us about the notion of teaching through mimesis, which is that knowing the soul of the learner and teaching through example are paramount.
Aug 27, 2019
100: Enneagrammar
Thomas takes us further into the Enneagram, and teaches us about all the extra information that comes with the Ennegram that makes it useful for practical counselling and life in general.
Aug 20, 2019
99: The Eight Tempting Thoughts
This is a little history of the seven deadly sins and the seven virtues. I know we've hit this topic before, but . . . uh . . . here it is again.
Aug 13, 2019
98: "Herman Who?" LIVE!
It's Paideia week at Veritas, which means we get to record a live podcast. Graeme is at the helm for this one, and we discuss hermeneutics.
Aug 06, 2019
97: Augustine, The Great Hippo Lord
In this episode, we review the life and heresies of Augustine of Hippo, who's apparently far more relatable than OTHER saints I could mention.
Jul 30, 2019
96: The Republic: Book 1
This is the first episode of a series on Plato's Republic. I swear it's not as boring as it sounds. We'll see how far we get before A.J. gets distracted and decides to do something else.
Jul 23, 2019
95: Discipline
The Romans thought much of discipline, and we can learn from them a good way to balance the Folly we talked about last episode.
Jul 16, 2019
94: The Praise of Folly
Desiderius Erasmus is a great name, and he wrote a satire in which the goddess Folly gives an extemporaneous speech in praise of herself. It's great. Let's get silly.
Jul 09, 2019
93: Braver New World
We didn't get into the story of Brave New World in the last podcast about Huxley's excellent novel, but we do in this one! Take some Soma, hop in your Ford, and come along.
Jul 02, 2019
Arthur Graeme Donaldson Hanenburg Magbee III
No episode this week. See you next week!
Jun 25, 2019
92: Thomas Stearns Eliot
In this episode, we return to T.S. and learn a little about his later poetry and stuff. Turns out he's a pretty neat guy (who had a four year stint of crazy no-poetry-time).
Jun 18, 2019
91: The Argonautica (Jason and the Golden Fleece)
Jason and his homies needed a golden fleece. What better way to get it than with the help of a crazy witch priestess, a talking ship, and a trip to Libya?
Jun 11, 2019
90: Brave New World
This is all about our current world. Just kidding, it's about a dystopian world invented by Aldous Huxley.
Jun 04, 2019
89: Another Sort of Learning
Thomas has been reading some James Schall lately, and walks us through his book, "Another Sort of Learning." We have heated debates about grades and what a student owes a teacher (Money. The answer is money.).
May 28, 2019
88: The Heroides
Here I am at . . . Camp Granada!
May 21, 2019
87: Distributism
We are on the brink of a new slavery, but Graeme is here to save us.
May 14, 2019
86: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde is an interesting study in contradictions, and his book, "The Picture of Dorian Gray," is an absolute hoot.
May 07, 2019
85: Mimetic Teaching
Thomas walks us through some thoughts on mimetic learning. In other words, the teacher is the curriculum.
Apr 30, 2019
We're taking a break this week. See you next week!
Apr 23, 2019
84: Plantagenets VI: Richie the Two
Dude. ol' Richie the Two is a pretty interesting character. You ever cow an entire army with your majesty? Probs not. He did.
Apr 16, 2019
83: More chaw, sir?
While we skip a couple of stories (the Miller and Reeve are bawdy fellows), it turns out that a lawyer and a cereal widow are pretty good at spinning a yarn.
Apr 09, 2019
82: The Wasteland
I tried so hard And got so far But in the end It doesn't even matter
Apr 02, 2019
81: Chaw, Sir!
You guys. It's spring. If you find yourself ready to take a walk, go on a journey, or otherwise just be outside, you're no different from anyone in the 1300s. In this episode, we'll journey with Chaucer and his buddies on their trip to Canterbury.
Mar 26, 2019
80: Everyone's a Critic
So, who IS allowed to pass judgment on great works of art? Is the layman? Is a college freshman? Where does the dollar stop?
Mar 20, 2019
79: Plantagenets V: The Black Death and Pedro the Cruel
The saga of English kings continues, and in this one they go to France! Granted, it's to take over, but that's cool, right?
Mar 12, 2019
78: Cicero's "On Doody" 3: Buyer Beware
The third part of Cicero's "On Duty" doesn't fail to disappoint. Or, at least, it wasn't what A.J. was expecting going in. On the other hand, we get to go through some fun moral cases involving vermin, grain, and two drowning wise men having discussions about boards.
Mar 05, 2019
77: I See Hair Again, or "Heresy 2, the Re-schisming"
One of our last episodes elicited more listener emails than we've ever received, and a fair bit of consternation. We address a little of that here.
Feb 26, 2019
76: Plantagenets 4, or "ROCKY GOES MEDIEVAL"
In the fourth installment of the Plantagenet series, we learn about Edward Longshanks and his son, Edward Shortshanks.
Feb 19, 2019
75: St. Valentino, the Italian
Take just a short pause from smooching, listener to aurally imbibe these ancient tales of ardent amory. .
Feb 12, 2019
74: Cicero, On Doody . . . number two
The first book of Cicero's "On Duty" concerns what is morally right for men to do. The second is what is expedient, or how to get what you want. Cicero isn't exactly a face-melter, so it's easier to get the synopsis here than it is to read on your own (don't let me stop you, just don't say I didn't warn ya).
Feb 05, 2019
73: Pandemonium
In Milton's Paradise Lost, the demons hold council after the fall to decide their next course of action. Three demons stand and make suggestions. We discuss their infernal ideas.
Jan 29, 2019
72: Hair-I-see
Turns out that the heretics weren't usually burned at the stake. Sure, sometimes they got punched in the mouth by Santa, but most of the time they lived happy lives. Let's chat about em.
Jan 22, 2019
71: Cicero's "On Doody" [sic], Book I
Cicero was a legendary statesman and orator. He wrote a treatise on moral philosophy to his son in the hopes that his son would follow in his footsteps. In this episode, we review part one (with parts two and three to come), and make a few poop jokes. Heh. Doody.
Jan 15, 2019
70: Hamlet, the Emo Teen
Hamlet is a complicated play, and probably, besides the star-crossed-lovers, his most famous. Graeme helps us understand Hamlet's web of lies.
Jan 08, 2019
69: Know Thyself (and thine own patronus)
All those tests you take on the internet might be helpful, but we take some serious beef with the Meyers-Briggs test and its implications.
Jan 01, 2019
68: Saint Nick and the Barrel Children
Merry Christmas from all of us at Classical Stuff! In this episode, we fight through the background noise of a vigorous floor buffing to bring you tales of Ol' Saint Nicholas, who was real. . . and leaks.
Dec 25, 2018
67: Chronological Snobbery
We discuss whether the classical movement, or even a preference for old things (books especially), is really just veiled chronological snobbery.
Dec 18, 2018
66: The Funeral Oration of Pericles
Thucydides wrote down, best he could, the funeral oration of Pericles, one of the greatest rulers(ish) of Athens. You'll hear the whole thing, then we discuss.
Dec 11, 2018
65: Satire
Satire: can it ever be virtuous? We submit that it can.
Dec 04, 2018
64: Blake's Marriage (of Heaven and Hell)
William Blake was a printer and a precursor to the Romantics. In this episode, we discuss his "Marriage of Heaven and Hell."
Nov 27, 2018
63: Plantagenets III
As the history of the Brits continues, so does our podcast about it. In this episode, Graeme tells us about how Edward's shanks were indeed long.
Nov 20, 2018
62: How to Be Unlucky
Josh Gibbs is a scholar we're all fond of, and in this episode we discuss his new book.
Nov 13, 2018
61: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain was a member of King Arthur's court . . . and a pipsqueak. This is his story.
Nov 06, 2018
60: The Song of Roland
The Song of Roland is one of the oldest examples of French literature. It also has some of my favorite things: swords, horses, war horns and Nicolas Cage. Just kidding, there are no swords.
Oct 30, 2018
59: Antigone
In the last play of the Theban cycle, Antigone, a bunch of folks die because of one already dead dude. Also, we discuss law.
Oct 16, 2018
58: Frankestein
Frankenstein is a warning against ambition. And science. Mostly science. Also, Satan is in there somewhere.
Oct 09, 2018
57: Mike's Last Judgment
Michelangelo painted some pretty sweet things on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but the wall is probably cooler still.
Oct 02, 2018
56: Oedipus at Colonus
Bees leads this one on a Sophoclesian (just made that word up, and it's awesome) play. You can see the title of the play in the title of the podcast episode. It's just right up there.
Sep 25, 2018
55: The Abolition of Man Pt. 3
Turns out that all this gene editing is a good way to destroy ourselves. Lewis was dealing with conditioning, but it's pretty much the same thing, right?
Sep 18, 2018
54: The Abolition of Man Pt. 2: The Tao
The Illustrious A.J. Hanenburg summarizes Lewis's thoughts on the Tao. Sounds like a noodle dish, but I swear it's pretty neat.
Sep 11, 2018
53: The Abolition of Man Pt. 1: Men Without Chests
Graeme Says some stuff about C.S. Lewis's Abolition of man. It's important stuff folks, and he's a smartypants.
Sep 04, 2018
52: The Consolation of Philosophy
This is both our one year anniversary and our first (successfully recorded) live episode! This took place at the annual Paideia Conference at Veritas Academy. We hope to see you there next year!
Aug 28, 2018
51: The Complexities of Oedipus
Bees takes us on a journey with an ancient Greek fellow who just wouldn't listen to the oracles. Listen to the prophets, bro. Listen to the prophets.
Aug 21, 2018
50: Wit
Graeme discusses the common topic of comparison as it's divided into judgment and wit.
Aug 14, 2018
49: Gilgamesh
In this episode, A.J. walks us through mankind's oldest story.
Aug 07, 2018
48: On Fairy Stories
Beez walks us through Tolkien's Article, "On Fairy-Stories," and we discuss the nature of humanity as it relates to fiction.
Jul 31, 2018
47: How to Read a Book
In this episode, we discuss the four ways to read a book.
Jul 24, 2018
46: Shakespeare the Plagiarist
One of the greatest military minds of all time, Julius Caesar, was written about by two greats: Shakespeare and Plutarch.
Jul 17, 2018
45: Why English Teachers Aren't Liars
The most common criticism of English courses is that some of the things we teach sound made up. How do you know what is symbolic in a book and what isn't?
Jul 10, 2018
44: Translation
Bees answers the question, should we try and learn a language on our own, or be okay with reading translations? Personally, I think we should speak our own made up language. But that's just me. Grizzleboomp.
Jul 03, 2018
43: Beowulf
Beowulf is one of those epics that is needlessly intimidating. It's a story about a big guy who kills monsters. What's not to love?
Jun 26, 2018
42: Aristotle's Four Causes
Aristotle's four causes are a nifty way to think about definition. What, in its essence, is a thing? Anything? Well, Aristotle took a crack at it. We four high school teachers weigh in.
Jun 19, 2018
41: The Grand Inquisitor
The "Grand Inquisitor" chapter (paired with the "Rebellion" chapter) in Dostoevsky's "Brother's Karamazov is a scathing criticism of Christianity and the central crux of the book. We discuss.
Jun 12, 2018
40: What is Classical Education?
Thomas takes us through what, exactly, classical education is. Sure, we've done the trivium, but beyond that, what is different about a classical school?
Jun 05, 2018
39: How to Rite Gooder
In this episode, A.J. gives some tips on Style, the third canon of rhetoric. If followed, these tips will improve your prose.
May 29, 2018
38: What are people for?
In this episode, we discuss a few essays from the prominent thinker, Wendell Berry.
May 22, 2018
37: The History of the Plantagenets II
In this episode, Graeme finishes (or comes near finishing) a brief history of the house of Plantagenet, the house that helped to found the British Empire.
May 15, 2018
36: The History of the Plantagenets
Graeme reviews the beginnings of the British empire, focusing mainly on awesome kings and royal drama. You know, the good stuff.
May 08, 2018
35: The benefits of iliterasee [sic]
Thomas walks us through some thoughts on literacy and the appropriate time for entering the classical world.
May 01, 2018
34: The Odyssey Part 2
A.J. walks us through the Hero's journey and outlines a the theory of the cosmic journey. Tableware also makes an appearance. Spoiler: it's gold.
Apr 24, 2018
33: The Odyssey, Part I
In this episode, A.J. brings us into the world of the Odyssey, noting some important scenes as we explore the story.
Apr 17, 2018
32: The Deep Joy of Romanticism
Graeme leads us through the notion of Deep Joy. It's shorthand for the experience that inspired the romantics.
Apr 10, 2018
31: University
In this episode, we discuss the purpose of college, beginning specifically with the changes in mission of a specific college.
Apr 03, 2018
30: Socrates
In this episode we discuss the person of Socrates. The man himself is a little tough to nail down, considering that he didn't write anything down.
Mar 27, 2018
29: Usury doesn't mean what you think it means. Probably.
We discuss the church's attitude toward lending, interest, and money. We also try to figure out definitions and how to survive the apocalypse.
Mar 20, 2018
28: Dante and his Comedy
We introduce you to Dante in this episode and give you a guide to understanding his best known work. Oh, also, it's a little bit about Hell, which is fun.
Mar 13, 2018
27: Adequatio
Adequatio is the notion that the understanding of the knower must be adequate to the thing known.
Mar 06, 2018
26: Milton's Fall
Graeme teaches us about the fall of man according to Milton. Our eighth-grade boys will be disappointed to hear that it isn't all Eve's fault.
Feb 27, 2018
25: The Memory Palace
In this episode, A.J. walks us through the ancient method of loci and its modern uses. Ever see Sherlock poke his brain and information comes out? Well, the memory palace is a real thing, but it doesn't exactly work like that.
Feb 20, 2018
24: Acedia
In this episode, Thomas takes us through the ancient understanding of despair--both its symptoms and its remedies.
Feb 13, 2018
23: The Theology of Paradise Lost
In this episode, Graeme takes us through the theology of Milton's paradise lost. Even if you never plan on reading this mountain of a book, it's a good way to delve into the theology of Adam and Eve.
Feb 06, 2018
22: Classical Rhetorical Form
In this episode, A.J. takes us through an alternative to the five paragraph essay that is more useful for everyone, including those of us no longer in school. Need to convince someone of something? You can use this.
Jan 30, 2018
21: Friendship!
In this one, Bees walks us through a classical view of friendship.
Jan 23, 2018
20: The Four Senses of Scripture
Dante recorded what folks had been doing for a long time as they read scripture. In this episode, we run you through Dante's method for studying scripture.
Jan 16, 2018
19: Dorothy Sayers, or "THE TRIVIUM - REDUX"
Dorothy Sayers' "Lost Tools of Learning" is the article that helped to form a movement. We talk through it in this episode, and we end up talking a little more trivium while we're at it.
Jan 09, 2018
18: The Ideal Type
When we say , "The Ideal Type," it's really just a way of expressing in shorthand that we cling to the idea of an ideal: an ideal way to live, an ideal way for man to live in culture. This is a discussion of that ideal.
Jan 02, 2018
17: The Trivium
The Trivium--grammar, logic, and rhetoric--provides the three grand divisions upon which classical education is based. Sounds boring, I know, but it ain't so bad.
Dec 26, 2017
16: Leisure
In this episode, Bees walks us through Josef Pieper's book, "Leisure the Basis of Culture." A.J. takes issue with those uppity philosophers.
Dec 19, 2017
15: The seven deadly sins
In this episode, we discuss the classical understanding of the seven deadly sins and their import today.
Dec 12, 2017
14: Logical Fallacies, Part Deux
In this episode, we cover the fallacies of ambiguity and the fallacies of form.
Dec 05, 2017
13: Logical Fallacies, Part 1
The logical fallacies can be bunched into a few headings. There are quite a few of them, and this episode isn't exhaustive, but we hit the biggies. In this episode, we focus primarily on the fallacies of distraction.
Nov 28, 2017
12: What IS classical?
Thomas leads us through the criteria for calling a work classical.
Nov 21, 2017
11: Ethos, Logos, Pathos
This episode is a little different since I included an extra bit of conversation that we had been having with the audio off. It concerns economy and man. After that, we move on to the actual episode. It concerns the three modes of persuasion. If you ever hope to convince someone to do something, and do it with commitment, you're going to have to use these. Ethos concerns the trustworthiness of the speaker. Logos concerns the use of logic and avoidance of fallacy, and pathos concerns the emotions.
Nov 14, 2017
10: The House of Atreus
The House of Atreus is central to both the Iliad and the plays of Aeschylus. The story is a little crazy, so be warned: it's not really appropriate for kids.
Nov 07, 2017
9: The Spheres
Medieval man is much maligned for his cosmology. This episode describes this cosmology, helping the modern reader to understand references to the spheres in Milton and others, while at the same time defending medieval man.
Nov 07, 2017
8: Metaphors
In this episode, Graeme discusses the different parts of a metaphor.
Nov 01, 2017
7: Iliad book XXII
The twenty-second book of the Iliad is a microcosm of the whole. The symbolism in this chapter captures all the major themes of the book.
Nov 01, 2017
6: Ratio and Intellectus
In this podcast, we discuss the ancient division between the two types of reason. Put simply, Intellectus refers to natural understanding or meditation, and Ratio refers to the working faculty of reason.
Nov 01, 2017
5: The Common Topics
The Common Topics is the toolkit you use when you want to think of something to say. Got a speech to write? The common topics can help you out.
Nov 01, 2017
4: The Christian Knight
The notion of the Christian knight is central to several texts, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight among them. There were several moral expectations placed on knighthood in the middle ages, including that of charity and fidelity.
Nov 01, 2017
3: Intro to the Epics
The Odyssey, Iliad, and Aeneid all concern a single great story. This podcast covers the mythological background necessary to understanding these epics.
Nov 01, 2017
2: Homer
This one's all about Homer: who he is, where he came from, and most importantly, if he actually existed.
Nov 01, 2017
1: The Tripartite Soul
Plato theorizes that there are three parts to the human soul: the rational, the spirited, and the appetitive.
Nov 01, 2017