Chapter 7. Asterix and the Big Fight

Rene Goscinny

Albert Uderzo

English Translations: Anthea Bell & Derek Hockridge


The Romans get the chief of another village to challenge Vitalstatistix to a fight for their villages. But when Getafix loses his memory and can't make the magic potion, the village's future is in doubt..
Another early one. The drawing is almost up to later standards, but not quite. The main five are here (from the front intro) but that's about it. Impedimenta is ill defined, Fulliautomatix and Geriatrix show up in early form, but only in a crowd scene. IMO, the first truly brilliant Asterix as far as the jokes and puns go.

Table 7.1. Asterix and the Big Fight - Annotations

Page, Panel Comment
Page 2, Panel 2 The centurion looks like Italian dictator Mussolini. It may also be noted that Nebulus Nimbus is always shouting (only 3 exceptions)
Page 6, Panel 5 Jugged hare = hare cooked in a covered earthenware container
Page 9, Panel 9 "If you were the only Gaul in the world" = "If you were the only girl in the world" — a 1916 song written by Clifford Grey and Nat D. Ayer
Page 11 Panel 1 "Friends, Romans et. al...." = Mark Anthony in Shakespeare's play
Page 11, Pane 3 Mensa, et. al. = Mensa means table. It is the traditional example given for a first declension feminine noun. A Latin noun is usually declined in the order: Nominative (subject), Vocative (address), Accusitive (object), Gentive (of), Dative (to or for) and Ablative (by, with or from). Hence for the singular: mensa, mensa, mensam, mensae, mensae, mensa.
Page 12, Panel 4 Order of the Bath = British honorary award, can be added on to your last name. British order of knighthood. Named from the bath preceding installation.
Page 14, Panel 1 Victurus te saluto = I who am going to win greet you. Reference to "Morituri te salutant," used by gladiators to salute the Emperor.
Page 15, Panel 5 Quod erat demonstrandum = which was the thing to be proved (Euclid). Used in proofs as QED. Cassius Ceramix's quote "Quite easily done" is a common, simple (yet sarcastic) interpretation of QED (for those who cannot remember the Latin).
Page 19, Panel 1 Dulce et... = Lovely and honourable it is to die for one's country. (Horace, Odes III.ii.13)
Page 21, Panel 1 "Pompey's body lies in a-mouldering the but..." = "John Brown's Body", a famous Union marching song of the American Civil War. It was a tribute to the abolitionist acts of Jon Brown. The tune, probably written by William Steffe in 1855-56, was later used for "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".
Page 26, Panel 9 That patient thinks himself Napoleon Bonaparte. No wonder they don't know who he thinks he is in the Ancient world. He isn't going to be born for almost another 1800 years!
Page 33, Panel 8 Sotto voce = in a undertone (quite voice)
Page 34, Panel 3 Dodgem chariots = A reference to the British Dodgems (American - bumper cars)
Page 34, Panel 6 Mirmillo = A type of Gladiator; Menagerix = Menagerie - A collection of animals for exposition; Marsupilami = A ficticious animal with yellow fur, black spots and long tail. A tribute to the character created by Belgian artist André Franquin as part of the series Spirou and Fantasio.
Page 34, Panel 6 W.H. Smix - W.H. Smith is a large British bookstore chain. In the French, the sign is "PILOTIX" - Pilote was a comics magazine in which Asterix was first published. The animal on the sign is known as the Marsupilami, known in some places as Kokomiko.
Page 36, Panel 5 Alea jacta est = the die is cast (Julius Caesar)
Page 39, Panel 10 Is this a reference to Mohammed Ali's famous quote "I am the greatest"??
Page 41, Panel 1 Ceneus = wedge shaped.
Page 1, Panel 3 The Germanic tribes attacked the Roman Empire quite a bit. Alaric captured Rome in 410 AD.

Table 7.2. Asterix and the Big Fight - Names

Name (in order of appearance) Comment
Nebulus Nimbus Nebulous:fuzzy, out of focus; nimbus=glow surrounding something, like an aura.
Felonius Caucus Felonious:criminal; caucus=controlling organization in a British political party.
Linoleum Linoleum: shiny floor covering.
Cassius Ceramix Ceramics: baked clay, earthenware. Cassius is a Roman name. Also a play on Cassius Clay, which was Mohammed Ali's given name.
Professor Berlix M.D. Berlitz's language lessons (started in 1878) are rather famous.
Prawnsinaspix Prawns in aspic. Prawn=like a large shrimp, aspic=jelly or relish.
Infirmofpurpus Infirm of purpose: has doubts.
Psychoanalytix Psychoanalytics: basically, mind doctoring
Bicarbonatofsoda Bicarbonate of soda: baking soda
Liquorix Licorice
Icelollix Ice lollie = Flavoured ice block on a stick.