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Vico’s Ring


the distinctive characteristics of each “language” (divine/heroic/articulate)

previously covered in Book II. Despite, or maybe because of, the brevity of

Section V, it stands out that Vico devoted much more space to the first kind

of language than to the rest. Since this part of Book IV does not add any new

material or substance to the discussion, we surmise that it was included in or-

der to make Book IV work or function as the counterpart of Book II in the

overall ring composition. From a rhetorical point of view, it ould be read as

an epigrammatic conclusion to the exposition in Book II.

An even more extreme case of brevity is Book IV, Section II, (§§ 919-

921), entitled “Three Kinds of Customs” (pious/choleric/dutiful), consisting

of just three short sentences. As these statement are redundant as far as their

content is concerned, we are assuming that this section, too, has a raison

d’être in terms of the larger compositional framework.


Mazzotta provides historical context for Vico’s treatment of these sub-

jects in

The New Map of the World

, cit., pp. 133-139.


On the “tree of poetic wisdom” see G. Tagliacozzo - M. Frankel,


gress in Art? A Vichian Response


cit., pp. 242-243; on the cluster of the five

spheres of archaic beliefs in the second branch, see P. Cristofolini,

La Scienza


di Vico

, cit., pp. 132-134. On “poetic astronomy”, in particular, see the

monograph by J. L. Cooley,

Poetic Astronomy in the Ancient Near East: The Reflex-

es of Celestial Science in Ancient Mesopotamian, Ugaritic, and Israelite Narrative,

Winona Lake, Eisenbrauns, 2013. The title, however, does not refer to Vico’s

term, but to

De Astronomia

by Gaius Julius Hyginus (c. 64 BC - AD 17), first

published in 1482 as

Clarissimi uiri Hyginii Poeticon astronomicon opus utilissimum,

hence known as

Poetic Astronomy



Lollini argues for greater cognizance of (heteronomous) nature in Vi-

co’s thought in

Natura, ragione e modernità nella Scienza nuova di Vico

, cit., pp.

223-224, 230-243.


Nuzzo makes a strong case for Vico’s treatment of «natural causes, and

more precisely “geographic” [causes] (

cause naturali, e più precisamente “geografi-


)», in

I caratteri dei popoli nella nuova scienza delle nazioni di Vico

, cit.; Nuzzo

also observes: «[…] Vico non assume il compito di effettuare una chiara trat-

tazione dei rapporti di causalità tra fattori “naturali” e “culturali” ([…] Vico

does not take on the task of a clear treatment of the relationships of causality

between ‘natural’ and ‘cultural’ factors)» (


, p. 174).


Whether the same number of sections in segments




is purely

coincidental or by design, is impossible to say, and is in any case a negligible