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

287

(1715, posthumously); however, since this work was unknown to Vico, his

«search for the true Homer» was not a reaction to it, or a topicalization of

d’Aubignac’s contention (G. Mazzotta,

The New Map of the World

, p. 152).

592

Ruggiero, by a different route, arrived at a corresponding conclusion:

«Ma, a ben vedere, Vico non solo non nega la figura del poeta greco [la perso-

nalità di Omero], ma la sua attenzione è rivolta piuttosto ad altro. […]

L’Omero dunque non è quello “finor creduto”, cioè il frutto della finzione

tradizionale che ha conglobato su quel nome una molteplicità di caratteri di-

scordanti, ma è ad uno stesso tempo poeta singolare e “carattere eroico

d’uomini greci, in quanto essi narravano, cantando le loro storie”» (But, all

things considered, Vico not only does not deny the figure of the Greek poet

[the person of Homer], but his attention revolves rather around something

else. […] Homer therefore is not the one “believed in up to now”, but at the

same time a single poet [i.e. the 8

th

-century Homer] and the “heroic character

of Grecian men insofar as they told their histories in song”)» (Id.,

Nova Scientia

Tentatur

, cit., pp. 192, 194, 195).

See also the carefully qualified conclusion in V. Ch. dos Santos: «O

filósofo Naplestano refutou formalmente a existência de Homero, na medida

em que noção de autoria individual se vinculava a um tipo de conhecimento

que chamou de

sapienza riposta

(The Neapolitan philosopher formally denied

Homer’s existence, provided that the notion of individual authorhip is linked

to a kind of knowledge called

esoteric wisdom

)» (Id.,

Vico e a descoberta do verdadeiro

Homero,

in «Acta Scientiarum. Human and Social Sciences», 27, 2005, 1, pp.

21-30, p. 28, online at

Portale Vico

, <

www.giambattistavico.it>

, under the tab

Biblioteca digitale

).

593

The second proposition as representing Vico’s view, nevertheless, has

numerous proponents. In this case, affirming the identity of «the true Homer»

goes hand in hand in hand with denial of the existence of the 8

th

century

Homer. To cite a few representative views: Mooney: «[…] Homer was not a

philosopher, […] he was not even a man or two men» (Id.,

Vico in the Tradition

of Rhetoric

, cit., p. 202); G. Cerri: «Egli [Omero] non fu un individuo storico

[…]; ma non fu nemmeno invenzione in senso stretto. Omero è la figura sim-

bolica nella quale i Greci ipostatizzarono la moltitudine indefinita degli aedi

[…] (He [Homer] was not a historical individual […]; but he was neither an

invention in the strict sense. Homer is the symbolic figure by means of which

the Greeks hypostatized the indefinite multitude of the poets […])» (Id.,

G. B.

Vico e l’interpretazione oralistica di Omero

, cit., p. 243); V. Placella (using the 1730

edition): «[…] partendo dal fatto incontestabile dell’esistenza dei due poemi,

arrivò a negare Omero «per mettà», cioè a riconoscerlo come «carattere eroi-

co» […] ([…] starting with the undeniable fact of the two extant poems, he