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Horst Steinke


again in Book V, joining




(in the Middle Ages): «These


freed by the Petelian Law correspond exactly to the vassals, who must at first

have been called liege men as being bound (


) by this knot» (§ 1066).

However, it is not in the

Scienza nuova

of 1730/1744 where Vico draws these

historical parallels for the first time; it is actually already in

Diritto universale

where he points them out, see Book I (

On the One Principle and One End of Uni-

versal Law

), Chapter 129, on which Ruggiero comments: «Dunque la teoria del

ricorso […] è presente qui, nel suo fondamento storico-giuridico, con uno

stupefacente ribaltamento di prospettiva (The theory of the


is therefore

present here, in its historical-juridical foundation, with an astounding reversal

of point of view)» (Id.,

Nova Scientia Tentatur,

cit., pp. 93-95). For aspects of

(late) medieval law, see M. Ascheri,

The Laws of Late Medieval Italy


Foundations for a European Legal System,

Leiden, Brill, 2013; R. W. Kaeuper



Law, Governance, and Justice: New Views on Medieval Constitutionalism,


Brill, 2013. For an interpretation of the Chronological Table/Notes from a

different point of view (and therefore not necessarily mutually exclusive), see

V. Vitiello,

Saggio introduttivo,

cit., pp. CXX-CXXV.


To conclude this section, we would like to cite some Vico scholars who

have drawn attention to the symmetry or circularity of the beginning and con-

clusion of

Scienza nuova

although not necessarily in the same way or for the

same reasons as adduced here: Battistini, for example, wrote: «The structure

of the

New Science

imitates the circularity of events and draws its own circum-

ference, in that the “conclusion of the work” is symmetrical with the “pic-

ture” of the beginning» (Id.,

On the Encyclopedic Structure of the

New Science, cit.,

p. 24); similarly, Marcus: «Vico opens and closes the

New Science

with concen-

tric themes: piety, providence, and religion» (Id.,

Vico and the Hebrews

, cit., p.

14); Lollini perhaps comes closest to our accentuation: «Vico tende a stabilire

analogia tra istituti Romani e istituti medievali, stabilendo così una certa con-

tinuità circolare tra i diversi cicli (Vico intends to establish an analogy between

Roman and medieval institutions, thus establishing a certain circular continui-

ty between the different cycles)» (Id.,

Il mito come precomprensione storica

, cit., p.