Hayek’s liberalism might be modern, but the true individualism which he insisted underpinned it certainly was not: he traced its origins back to the classical world. The genealogy of true individualism he constructed is therefore at odds with the influential early 19th century analysis of Benjamin Constant (1819) who, although never using the word ‘liberal’, distinguished between the positive political liberty of the ancients and the private commercial liberty that had developed among the moderns. It also differs from the dominant mainstream representation of the roots of liberal thinking presented by Isaiah Berlin (1969) who essentially endorsed Constant’s distinction.