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Vico’s Ring


which has not been carried over. See G. Vico,

La Scienza nuova. Le tre edizioni


cit., p. 486) So, while Vico kept to the key role of childhood, both in its actual

and metaphorical states, in the 1744 version, he expunged the references to

pregnancy and childbirth.

While it could not be argued that these changes (and others) materially al-

ter the overall picture, what they have in common is their pointedness and

definitiveness, and thus may reflect, among other things, Vico’s growing self-

confidence and self-assurance in his theoretical framework.

Ruggiero has shown how seemingly minor wording changes/edits be-

tween the 1730 and 1744 versions provide a window into Vico’s thinking. His

study involves the historically contentious § 873, where Vico takes «the mid-

dle ground (

per la metà

)» on the question of Homer’s “existence”; while the

textual changes do not revise the overall line of argumentation, and thus are

not necessarily critical or radical, they are still helpful for clarification (Id.,


«volgar tradizione»,

cit., pp. 236-244). Ruggiero’s conclusions will be relevant to

our own discussion of § 873 below.


G. Vico,

La Scienza nuova. Le tre edizioni,

cit., p. 486; the identical state-

ment is also in the 1744 version, at the end of § 338.


Unless Vico meant to highlight the 20-year period as such, as relative

or free-floating, without relating its end point specifically to the 1730 edition,

as in an absolute chronology; in that case, he could have had in mind the two

decades prior to

Scienza nuova

(1725), or even prior to

Diritto universale

(1721/1722), thus taking us as far back as the time of the early

Inaugural Ora-


This latter timeline could be in line with Ruggiero’s observation: «Tra il

1721 e il 1722 intanto, per la prima volta, Vico comincia a riflettere sulla figura

di Omero, e il ruolo di Omero appare subito sistematicamente così rilevante

da meritare chiose e incrementi tali che finirono col produrre una lunga nota

[…] nel terzo volume del

Diritto universale

(Meanwhile, between 1721 and

1722, Vico for the first time begins to reflect on the figure of Homer, and the

role of Homer quickly appears as so relevant systematically as to merit expla-

nations and additional comments that, in the end, resulted in a lengthy note

[…] in the third volume of

Diritto universale

)» (Id.,

Nova Scientia Tentatur

, cit., p.



See B. A. Haddock,

Vico’s “Discovery of the True Homer

”, cit., p. 588; M.

H. Fisch,

Vico on Roman Law

, cit., pp. 7-8. Since the

Scienza nuova in forma nega-


and the so-called Venetian

Scienza nuova,

are no longer extant, no other

major works are available for consideration relative to his treatment of Homer

prior to the 1725 version.


Vico’s placement of his pivotal methodological excursus only after pre-

senting three-quarters of the entire rest of the work first (i.e. Books I, II, IV,