It was Federico Chabod who recognized in Jean Bodin's theory of climate the merging, in the middle of the sixteenth century, of the «scattered seeds» of an essentially naturalistic idea of nation, still far from the modern conception of the nation as «a spiritual fact». Bodin (1529-1596) was one of the greatest exponents of French legal humanism. Reworking and updateing in his major works (Methodus, 1566; République, 1576-1586; Universae naturae theatrum, 1596) a long dating back theme, Bodin presented the characters of nations as dependent on climatic situations: the cold north with the torpid ingenuity of the inhabitants, the hot south with subtle ingenuity, and the middle zone of temperate nations. That theory, which soon became a stereotype until its reworking in Montesquieu's Esprit des lois, actually played a more decisive role in the genesis of the modern concept of nation, made visible for the first time, albeit in a symbolic and imaginary way.
in the Catalogue