Jonathan Sumption

In defence of the EU

13 April 2024 9:00 am

Eastern Europe is the graveyard of empires. Rome failed on the Danube, Napoleon on the Dnieper. The epic struggle between…

There was nothing remotely pleasant about a peasant’s existence

24 February 2024 9:00 am

Focusing on Ireland and his own peasant heritage, Patrick Joyce laments the passing of a distinctive way of life. But the world his parents left behind was truly horrible

Judgment call: the case for leaving the ECHR

30 September 2023 9:00 am

What’s to stop us leaving the ECHR?

Our academics are attacking the whole concept of knowledge

12 August 2023 9:00 am

The decolonisers in Britain’s universities are not just trying to defend their views. They are seeking to upend the free market in ideas by imposing them, says Doug Stokes

The holy fool

10 June 2023 9:00 am

The beleaguered monarch cuts a sad figure at the opening of David Carpenter’s second volume of biography – in contrast to his brilliant arch-enemy Simon de Montfort

The Guardian’s self-laceration is embarrassing to watch

2 April 2023 5:35 pm

The Guardian is currently engaged in an orgy of sanctimonious breast-beating. After two years’ research commissioned by its proprietor, the…


25 February 2023 9:00 am

The collectors’ obsession with rare medieval manuscripts

17 December 2022 9:00 am

Jonathan Sumption describes the age-old obsession of bibliophiles with acquiring rare illuminated manuscripts

Was Nato expansion worth the risk?

24 September 2022 9:00 am

This is an important and topical book. Mary Sarotte traces the difficult course of Russia’s relations with Europe and the…

The hidden harms in the Online Safety Bill

20 August 2022 9:00 am

The hidden harms in the Online Safety Bill

The magic of manuscripts

2 October 2021 9:00 am

Nothing captures medieval life more vividly than a manuscript that has passed through many hands, says Jonathan Sumption

A written constitution is no defence against authoritarian government

10 April 2021 9:00 am

No one can accuse Linda Colley of shying away from big subjects. This one is as big as they come…

Sylvie Bermann personifies French fury over Brexit

20 March 2021 9:00 am

Sylvie Bermann was the French ambassador in London between 2014 and 2017. Her stint here was a notable success. She…

The moment the modern world went wrong

26 December 2020 5:30 pm

Spectator contributors were asked: Which moment from history seems most significant or interesting? Here is Jonathan Sumption’s answer: The Paris…

'This is how freedom dies': The folly of Britain's coercive Covid strategy

28 October 2020 7:17 pm

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the British state has exercised coercive powers over itscitizens on a scale never previously attempted. It…

Britain’s bizarre Italian travel guidance

24 October 2020 9:00 am

Here’s a tip. When the Foreign Office advises against going somewhere, hop on the next plane. The mandarins have advised…

Social distancing destroys our lives as social beings

13 June 2020 9:00 am

A lockdown diary is an oddly negative thing. At the dinner parties that we aren’t going to, we aren’t discussing…

Jonathan Sumption: 'You cannot imprison an entire population'

18 May 2020 7:00 am

The current rationale for the lockdown is incoherent. The old rationale was: ‘you must spread the infections over a longer…

Did Christianity make the western mind — or was it the other way round?

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Nobody can accuse Tom Holland of shying away from big subjects. Dominion is nothing less than a history of Christianity…

Heroism in a hopeless cause: why the crusades remain fascinating

15 June 2019 9:00 am

The crusades are part of everyone’s mental image of the Middle Ages. They extended, in one form or another, from…

History will be kinder to Theresa May than we have been

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Recording the BBC Radio 4 Reith Lectures has brought me to five cities and five styles of questioning. Cardiff had…

A French illuminated manuscript shows supplies being loaded onto boats before departing for the Crusades

What it took to wage holy war, Medieval style

5 September 2015 9:00 am

For most of history, religion and war have been the most powerful social instincts of mankind and its chief collective…