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


La Scienza Nuova nelle edizioni del 1730 e del 1744

, cit., p. 335). There are other

aspects to the Chronological Table not mentioned here, see, for example, P.


La Scienza nuova

di Vico

, cit., pp. 51-57.

To further underline the programmatic nature of Vico’s Chronological

Table/Notes, it may be instructive to compare them to the “tables” that the

much admired Francis Bacon promoted in scientific research. See

The Novum

Organum, or A True Guide To The Interpretation Of Nature

, trans. by G. W.

Kitchin, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1855, pp. 125-165. According to P.

Rossi, «the tables must order and classify instances so that we may master and

control them» (Id.,

Francis Bacon: From Magic to Science

, trans. by S. Rabinovitch,

Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1968, p. 202; originally appeared in Ital-

ian as

Francesco Bacone: Dalla magia alla scienza,

Bari, Laterza, 1957). Compared

to Bacon’s tables that function as databases of essentially (at least presumably)

“raw” data, Vico’s table depicts the mastery and control achieved by the end

of the process.


This might also be a good time to refer to the efforts of depicting


za nuova

of 1730/1744 as a more or less seamless culmination of Vico’s prior

work, published, unpublished, or missing/lost. See, for example, G. Gentile,

Studi Vichiani

, ed. by V. A. Belleza, Florence, Sansoni, 3


edition, 1968, pp.

167-188. Within the well-established framework of this account, however, the

subtle and not so subtle shifts, not to say leaps, in Vico’s thought beg for

recognition. As Placella wrote with respect to

Scienza nuova

1730: «La mancata

edizione veneziana della

Scienza nuova

c’interessa sopratutto perché in essa era

gran parte del segreto del “salto” dalla prima alla seconda

Scienza nuova,


che […] ha conferito al capolavoro vichiano il suo aspetto definitivo sul piano

metodologico e della disposizione della material. (The missing Venetian edi-

tion of the

Scienza nuova

is above all of interest because in it lies to a large ex-

tent the secret of the ‘leap’ from the first to the second

Scienza nuova

, a leap

that […] has conferred on his greatest work its definitive form

on the meth-

odological level as well as in the organization of the material)» (Id.,

La mancata

edizione veneziana della Scienza Nuova

, cit., pp. 147-148). So the unresolved ques-

tion is not the fact itself of a conceptual “leap” on Vico’s part, but only when

exactly it may have occurred. See also P. Cristofolini,

La Scienza nuova

di Vico


cit., pp. 25-34, where the ontogenesis of the 1744 edition is presented in terms

of compositional “strata”

(“strati” compositivi



Without wanting to overstretch affinities, it is as though at the end of

the Notes, one could skip to Book V and read it as their continuation. For

example, § 115 in the Notes says, under the heading of Petelian Laws: «This

second law, “on slavery for debt” (

de nexu

), was enacted in the year of Rome

419 (and thus three years after the Publilian Law)»; and reference is made to it