Horst Steinke, Vico’s Ring. Notes on the“Scienza nuova”, its Structure, and the Hermeneutics of Homer’s Works
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Horst Steinke


enza nuova

is not much more extensive – quantatively - but signif-

icantly more ideological: «At this time there is brought from

Athens to Rome the Law of the Twelve Tables, just as uncivil,

rude, inhuman, cruel, and savage as it is shown to be in our


ciples of Universal Law

(§ 102).

This is not the place to “unpack” this condensed statement,

except to take note of this Law being already accorded a deter-

minate place or position in Vico’s grand vision of evolution of




However, the most noticeable difference with the earlier

chronology is the addition of the “Publilian Law” and “Petelian

Law”, in 416 A.U.C. and 419 A.U.C., respectively. These Laws

are then commented on more extensively than any other histori-

cal event or development in the rest of the chronological table

(§§ 104-115)


. Considering the broad sweep of types of law po-

tentially available for discussion, it is noteworthy that both Book

V and the Chronological Table and Notes have in common es-

sentially the same special interest which, broadly speaking, is law-

ful governance and early forms of “constitutionalism”



Seen in this light, the Chronological Table and Notes are in-

timately connected with Book V, and, in any “standard” manner

of organizing and presenting material that belongs together, the

Table and Notes could have served as the first part of Book V. If

Vico had done so – without any loss of content –, the next part

of Book I, consisting of the “Elements”, “Principles”, and

“Method”, would have constituted the beginning of the book.

While these sections are not entirely congruent with Book I of

Scienza nuova

of 1725, they share methodological reflections; thus,

Scienza nuova

of 1725

provided a template for the type of material

to be presented at the beginning. We surmise therefore that Vico

deliberately, and audaciously, took the chronology out of its con-

text and transposed it in order to create an


, as an essential

part of an overall concentric structure of the work