Giovanni Scarpato

«The Iliad as the poem of force». Vico, Leopardi, and Homer’s heroes

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Keywords: Giambattista Vico, Giacomo Leopardi, Homer, political realism, natural law

This paper examines Vico’s and Leopardi’s reading of Homer’s Iliad, approached by the two authors as a poem celebrating heroism. More specifically, Leopardi’s Zibaldone pages dedicated to Vico’s ideas on Homer and the Age of heroes will be considered. The analysis will show that, for both authors, the idea of using violence as a privileged way to solve conflicts and Achilles’ capability of exemplifying ancient Greek’s virtues and values constituted a source of fascination. The paper concludes that such fascination witnesses their commitment to a form of political realism according to which political authority is grounded on force.

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