Chapter 30. Asterix and Obelix all at Sea

Rene Goscinny

Albert Uderzo

English Translations: Anthea Bell & Derek Hockridge


A handful of galley slaves, led by a Kirk Douglas-ian Spartakis, revolt against Caesar and steal the Roman Navy's finest ship. Pursued by the Roman Navy, they take refuge in Asterix's village. Obelix reverts back to childhood and loses his strength due to an overdose of magic potion. Can Asterix save the rebels and his friend...

Table 30.1. Asterix and Obelix all at Sea - Annotations

Page, Panel Comment
Page 1, Panel 1 Gormless = Foolish; Lacking sense
Page 2, Panel 10 Caesar wrote a famous book on his Gallic wars. Goscinny and Uderzo got most of their historical background for the Asterix books from Caesar's books.
Page 3, Panel 3 Spartikis is a caricature of Kirk Douglas who starred in the movie Spartacus.
Page 3, Panel 4 'Garden Path' = To lead somebody up the garden path is to lead them astray; 'Zo too hope I' = The German speaks English with a German accent and attempted English grammar.
Page 3, Panel 5 Liberty boat = Liberty ships were mass produced freighters built by Americans for the British for the British to transport supplies during WWII.
Page 4, Panel 3 'Better port in Lusitania' = Lusitania is the ancient name for Portugal. The port is Lisbon. Contributor Tom McCarthy feels that the town / port is Oporto and not Lisbon. Port Wine is named so because it is made in this region and shipped from Oporto.
Page 4, Panel 4 Waterloo is in Belgium.
Page 4, Panel 5 "Heim, Heim... There's no place like Heim!" = 'Home, Sweet Home... There's no place like home'. Heim is German for Home
Page 4 Panel 7 Knock the Romans for six = An expression from Cricket. One can get up to a maximum of six runs on a single delivery by hitting the ball over the boundary without hitting the ground.
Page 5, Panel 5 Peace with honor = Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's (1869 - 1940) announcement that he had achieved "peace with honour. I believe it is peace in our time" to the British people following his appeasement of Hitler in 1938 with the signing of Munich treaty; (alt.) Richard Nixon's speech announcing the end of American involvement in Vietnam in Jan 1973. I believe it was also a phrase that was used widely in his election campaign; (alt.) Apparently the phrase was also the election slogan of the Democratic party candidates of Cox and Roosevelt in 1920.
Page 5, Panel 6 Policy of appeasement = The politics of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain of avoiding war with Germany at all cost, even allowing Germany to occupy Bohemia in 1937.
Page 5, Panel 10 Nothing to suggest that they were going to attack = Germany did attack Poland in 1939 (also see above)
Page 7, Panel 6 Asterix gets the name wrong as Crustiferus. In Portuguese 'cruz de ferro' means 'Iron Cross' - the famous Nazi medal during WW II.
Page 8, Panel 1 Turn my toga = A Toga being the nearest Roman equivalent for a coat, this could mean turncoat i.e. traitor.
Page 9, Panel 5 Between a rock and a hard place sunshine = "between a rock and a hard place" = stuck between two equally bad alternatives. "Sunshine" is a (generally) unfriendly salutation; Unhygenix (considering what he is saying ;-) looks "stoned" in this panel.
Page 13, Panel 7 Panacea = See Asterix the Legionary
Page 13, Panel 10 A (pictorial) reference to the fairy tale of The Sleeping Beauty (Am I reading too much into this?)
Page 15, Panel 4 'Strong is our ...." = Some famous speech ???
Page 25, Panel 9 Marcus Gavius Apicius was a famous Roman cook who wrote his recipies down in "De Re Coquinaria".
Page 27, Panel 5 Summa jus, summa injuria = Extreme justice is extreme injustice (Cicero)
Page 29, Panel 1 'desserts' (the after eating after a meal kind) is spelled wrong. (Pun?)
Page 34, Panel 1 The large picture with the flying bull and cows is taken from a section of Disney's 'Fantasia', where flying horses were used, (note the little black one at the back, there is a little black horse in the film that has trouble flying).
Page 36, Panel 5 'Nunc est Bibendum, nunc pede liberi pulsanda tellus' = 'Now it is the time to drink, and now it is time for the loose feet to hit the floor' (Horace: Odes) i.e. Party Time!
Page 37, Panel 6 'Felix Qui Potuit Rerum Cognoscere Causas.' = Happy be he who can recogonise the cause of things. (Virgil, Georgica 2, 490)
Page 37, Panel 8 'Elementary my dear Crustacius' = Take off on 'Elementary my dear Watson.'
Page 41, Panel 4 Balistas are giant bow-and-arrows like sling shots.

Table 30.2. Asterix and Obelix all at Sea - Names

Name (in order of appearance) Comment
Crustacius Crustaceous = Relating to. having, or forming a crust or shell
Nautilus Any of a genus (Nautilus) of cephalopod mollusks of the South Pacific and Indian Oceans with a spiral chambered shell that is pearly on the inside.
Spartikis Spartacus. Roman slave and insurrectionist; defeated several Roman armies sent against him before being beaten by Crassus and killed in battle.
Poseidon Greek god of the sea
Neptune Roman god of the sea
Gluttonus One given habitually to greedy and voracious eating and drinking.
Absolutilifabulous Absolutely Fabulous - the famous English Sitcom. This character is a caricature of Jean-Paul Rouland.