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Horst Steinke



For quick reference, they are in each case three kinds of:

natures, customs,

natural law, governments, languages, characters, jurisprudence, authority, reason, judgments,

sects of time.


The relatively modest size of Book IV (as segment


) allows highlight-

ing of a few relevant expressions in each section:

I. § 918: «The third was human nature […], recognizing for laws con-

science, reason, and duty».

II. § 921: «The third was dutiful, taught to everyone by his own sense of

civil duty».

III. §§ 922-924: «The first law was divine […]. The second was heroic law

[…]. The third is the human law […]».

IV. §§ 925-927: «Three kinds of governments (divine/aristocratic/


V. § 929: «The first of these [languages] […], from which there survived in

Roman civil law the

actus legitimi


VI. § 936: «In views of this sovereignty over languages and letters, the free

peoples must also be masters of their laws, for they impose on the laws the

senses in which they constrain the powerful […]».

VII. §§ 937-940: «Three kinds of jurisprudence (divine/heroic/human)».

VIII. §§ 944-946: «Three kinds of authority [legitimization] (by property

ownership/guardianship/credit or reputation for wisdom)».

IX. §§ 947-951: «Three kinds of reason [governance] (divine [theocra-

cy]/aristocratic/free popular states or monarchies».

X. §§ 955, 965, 974: «Three kinds of judgments [legal system/law en-

forcement] (family fathers [patriarchal]/law of the heroic gentes/human, i.e.

governed by the facts, equal utility of causes».

XI. §§ 976-979: «Three sects of times (under divine governments/the

punctilious [honor bound]/civil); these sects are the proper sects of Roman

jurisprudence». The Marsh translation uses the expression «schools of

thought», while Hösle/Jermann employ the term «Epochen des Zeitgeistes

(epochs of


)». De la Villa renders it as «Tres períodos de tiempo», stat-

ing in a footnote: «Estas


como aclara después Vico, son las


, us-

anzas o características; a lo que también se alude, a veces, como la mentalidad

de una época, el “espíritu del tiempo”, o período (These


, as Vico later

makes clear, are the


, habits or characteristics; there are also allusions to

it, at times, as the mentality of an era, the “spirit of the times”, or period)»


Ciencia nueva

, cit., p. 643, footnote 64). The Pons translation reads: «Trois

sectes des temps», and in the Glossary explains: «On a rapproché la notion

vichienne de «secte des temps» de celle d’“esprit général d’une nation”, chez

Montesquieu, ou d’“esprit du temps” (


) et de “vision du monde” (