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


quired for creating a poetic text naturally is not […] due to an internal pro-

cess)» (Id.,

Was ist und was will “Heldenepik”?

, cit., p. 282).

G. Danek refers to the oral epic tradition received by the 8



Homer, somewhat oxymoronically, as “hypo-text”: «The Homeric epics were

hyper-texts at the time when they were composed. Their hypo-text was the

whole epic tradition. […] this hypotext as it was has disappeared for us pre-

cisely because it was wiped out and replaced by the monumental texts which

Homer composed […]. But if we take into account the hypertextual nature of

the Homeric epics, they become richer and more meaningful» (Id.,

The Homer-

ic epics as palimpsests

, in

In the Second Degree: Paratextual Literature in Ancient Near

Eastern and Ancient Mediterranean Culture and its Reflections in Medieval Literature


ed. by Ph. S. Alexander, A. Lange, R. J. Pillinger, Leiden, Brill, 2010, pp. 123-

136, p. 135). On certain literary aspects of the two works, see I. J. E. de Jong,


, in

Narrators, Narratees, and Narratives in Ancient Greek Literature: Studies in

Ancient Greek Narrative, Volume One,

ed. by I. de Jong, R. Nünlist, A. Bowie,

Leiden, Brill, 2004, pp. 13-24). See also V. Hösle,


, cit., p.



With respect to the voluminous history of reception of Vico’s intended

stance, it is still important to cite B. Croce and F. Nicolini (without engaging

here with their lines of reasoning, or with the historically interesting responses

to their interpretations): B. Croce,

The Philosophy of Giambattista Vico

, cit., pp.

183-196; Id.,

Saggio sullo Hegel, seguito da altri scritti,

Bari, Laterza, 1913, pp. 269-

282; F. Nicolini,

Saggi vichiani

, cit., pp. 181-209, on the subject “La semi-

negazione della personalità storica di Omero (The halfway denial of the histo-

ricity of Homer)”.


The first half consists of a single, convoluted sentence giving effusive

praise to unnamed «men of acute minds and excelling in scholarship» and «the

most judicious critics» for raising questions concerning «the Homer believed

in up to now», thus introducing the key issue. Nicolini suggests these were

Francesco Spinelli, prince of Scalea (1686-1752), Matteo Egizio (1671-1745),

Francesco Bianchini (1661-1729) (Id.,

Saggi vichiani

, cit., pp. 182, 186). For Vi-

co’s intellectual debt to Bianchini, see also C. Lucci,

Vico lettore e interprete dei

poemi omerici nella Scienza nuova


, cit., pp. 49-51.

The paragraph in its entirety is discussed in detail in G. Cerri,

G. B. Vico e

l’interpretazione oralistica di Omero

, in

Oralità. Cultura, letteratura, discorso. Atti del

Convegno Internazionale


Urbino 21-25 luglio 1980

, ed. by B. Gentili and G. Paioni,

Rome, Edizioni dell’Ateneo, 1985, pp. 233-258; R. Ruggiero,

Nova Scientia Ten-


, cit., pp. 191-195; the same material also appeared in Id.,

La “volgar tradi-


, cit., pp. 237-245.


G. Vico,

La Scienza nuova. Le tre edizioni

, cit., p. 1158.