Chapter 5. Asterix and the Banquet

Rene Goscinny

Albert Uderzo

English Translations: Anthea Bell & Derek Hockridge


When the Romans try to blockade the Gaulish village, Asterix & Obelix break out and go on a tour of Gaul to collect the local delicacies around the country. The Romans try and stop them every step of the way...
More early style. This is basically "Asterix in France." The title of this book in French is ""Le Tour de Gaule d'Asterix," a reference to the Tour de France. Some of the references in the story (such as the people pushing the cart when they arrive in Aginum) are references to this. A Fulliautomatix shows up, but he is no relation to the later one. First appearance of Dogmatix! No name yet, but he appears on page 9, panel 6. He follows them throughout the story, but Obelix only notices him on the last page!

Table 5.1. Asterix and the Banquet - Annotations

Page, Panel Comment
Page 3, Panel 8 Exegi monumentum aere perennius = I have built a monument more lasting than bronze (Horace, Odes
Page 4, Panel 8 Caius Fatuous: from Asterix the Gladiator
Page 6, Panel 6 People in Normandy are noted for the expression "Maybe, maybe not" (in French: "Pt'et'ben qu'oui, pt'et'ben qu'non..." with a heavy country accent).
Page 10, Panel 3 Matron: old lady
Page 11, Panel 5 Humbug: striped hard round mint candy
Page 13, Panel 9 Magnum: bottle holding 2/5 gallon of wine, twice as much as a usual bottle
Page 14, Panel 4 Brut: very dry; Sec: dry; Demi-sec: somewhat dry; Doux: (douce) sweet. Dry here means not sweet.
Page 14, Panel 5 Mumms is a brand of Champagne (they are in Reims after all - the home of champagne). All the bottles carry the characteristic red stripe of Mumms.
Page 20, Panel 2 That's the symbol of the French Post Offices (PTT Postes, Telegrammes et Telephones)
Page 23, Panel 4 A reference to Hansel and Gretel.
Page 24, Panel 4 The logo is a play on BP (British Petroleum)

"If ifs and ands were cauldrons and amphoras...." = A play on the lines "If ifs and ands were pots and pans...." in the nursery rhyme that begins "If wishes were horses".

Page 25, Panel 3 In the original French, this cart has a license plate that looks like the ones in use in France today, with a little "G" (for Gaul) sticker.
Page 26, Panel 8 Mistral: cold, dry north wind that blows over the Mediterranean region of France. Vesuvius didn't erupt till 79 AD.
Page 27, Panel 2 We see the French actor Raimu caricatured in this panel. This is also a take off on the card-playing scene in the French movie 'Marius'. Also see annotations for Page 28, Panel 6 below.
Page 27, Panel 7 Pastis: A yellowish French cordial wine flavored with licorice and aniseed. Very popular in Southern France; associated by many to holidays and hot summer days. Like the Turkish 'raki', Lebanese 'arak' or the Greek 'ouzo'.
Page 28, Panel 6 A take off on the Petanque game scene on the old French movie 'Fanny'. Both 'Marius' (see annotations for Page 27, Panel 2 above) and 'Fanny' were originally theatre plays (and leter films) by the French author Marcel Pagnol. Fanny, Marius and Cesar, together, make the Pagnol trilogy. There is most probably a caricature of the film Cesar here as well???
Page 28, Panel 8 The French Revolution, 1789 AD, and "La Marseillaise," the French national anthem.
Page 33, Panel 2 Aginum = Roman name for Agen.
Page 40, Panel 9 Victrix causa diis placuit sed victa catoni = The victorious cause pleases the gods, but the conquered one pleases Cato [the younger] (Lucan, Pharsalia I.128)

Table 5.2. Asterix the Gaul - Names

Name (in order of appearance) Comment
Lotuseatus Lotus eater: A person who is indolent, dreamy or forgetful
Overanxius Over anxious
Fulliautomatix Fully automatic
Ulna Ulna: Thinner bone between the elbow and hand
Radius Radius: Thicker bone between the elbow and hand
Nervus Illnus Nervous illness: a mental breakdown
Goldenslumbus Golden slumbers
Fishfingus Fish fingers: breaded strips of fish
Spongefingus Sponge: raised bread dough; fingers: strips
Unpatriotix Unpatriotic
Poisonus Fungus Poisonous fungus
Jellibabix Jelly babies: jellybean like candy in the shape of a baby
Fibrositus Fibrositis: an excessive growth of white fibrous tissue due to inflammation
Cesar Drinklikafix Drink like a fish: said of a heavy drinker
Tunafix Tuna fish
Hydrophobia Hydrophobia: rabies, or fear of water
Adipus Adipose: fatty tissue
Uptotrix Up to tricks
Villanus Villanous
Unscrupulus Unscrupulous
General Motus General Motors: American car company (GM).
Seniorservix Senior service: name given to Royal Navy by other British forces, as it was the first organized as a whole. Also a brand of cigarettes.