Ab ovo is a Latin word and can be translated from the egg. The term means a narrative technique in which the reader or spectator is told the prehistory of the actual action and is introduced into the happenings by atmospheric descriptions. The narrative counterpart is a telling in medias res. Here the narrator rises directly into the process, whereby the prehistory is told during the advancing action.
The word sequence goes back to the Roman poet Horace, and is found in the so-called Piusenbrief, the Ars poetica. The Ars poetica, which is written throughout in hexameters, gives hints on the aesthetics of poetry, even if it is not an independent poetic. It took a great influence on the poetry of the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Classicism. There, from verse 147 onwards,
Nec gemino bellum Troianum orditur ab ovo;
Translation: who does not begin the war on Troy with the twin.
Horace describes the ideal epic poet and uses a mythological allusion. Leda, with the father of the gods Zeus, begat the beautiful Helen. As Zeus Leda as a swan, these eggs put. Helen, who was later kidnapped by Paris, was the result of the war for Troy. If Leda had not laid the egg, there would not have been a war.
What Horace means, when he points out that the ideal poet does not speak from ovo, is that a narrative should begin immediately and not overwhelm its reader with unnecessary details as well as an atmospheric prehistory. The prehistory then results from the action itself.
Semper ad eventum festinat and medias res.
Translation: He always [Homer] quickly comes to the point and to the central things.
After Horace shows how it can not be done, he praises Homer in verse 148, who is the first poet in the West. The latter does not say from ovo, but rather gives the medias res the advantage, so comes directly to the matter and throws the reader directly into the happening.
Short overview: The most important overview
Ab ovo is a Latin phrase and can be translated from the egg. This goes back to the poet Horace. In a trans- parent sense, processes and processes can be identified which are not addressed quickly.
Abo means a narrative technique. Here a story is told of the absolute beginning or origin. This form was criticized by poet Horace. He preferred the narrative counterpart in medias res and praised Homer for his quick, direct entry.