Chapter 11. Asterix and the Chieftain's Shield

Rene Goscinny

Albert Uderzo

English Translations: Anthea Bell & Derek Hockridge


An ailing Vitalstatistix is sent to a health farm, near the scene of the Gauls triumph at Gergovia. When Asterix & Obelix annoy the local Romans, Caesar decides to hold his own triumph on a famous Gaulish shield. If only he can find it in the coal cellars...

Table 11.1. Asterix and the Chieftain's Shield - Annotations

Page, Panel Comment
Page 1, Panel 1 See Vercingetorix entry under section Historical Dramatis Personae in the Characters Chapter and Alesia under Cities and Countries in the Geography Chapter.
Page 1, Panel 5 Ruber et Niget = Rouge et noir. A card betting game. Needed: two packs of 52 cards; a player gets 5 cards, and bets whether he/she will get more black or more red cards. If the first four cards are two red cards and two black cards, he/she can double his/her stake.
Page 1, Panel 6 Diem perdidi = I have lost a day (Emperor Titus 39-81 AD)
Page 1, Panel 7 Quo vadis = where are you going?
Page 1, Panel 8 O tempora! O mores! = O the times! O the morals! From Cicero's first oration against Sergius Catilina.
Page 3, Panel 12 Aquae Calidae = hot water. Vichy, a town near Arvenia.
Page 5, Panel 6 "use a little wine for thy stomach's sake" = "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." (I Timothy 5:23)
Page 5, Panel 7 "Let good digestion wait on appetite" = "Now good digestion wait on appetite, and health on both!" (Shakespeare, Macbeth III.iv.38)
Page 8, Panel 2 Archimedes discovered the principle of a body displacing its equivalent mass in water
Page 11, Panel 3 Vade retro = get back.

Audaces Fortuna juvat = "Audentis Fortuna iuvat": fortune assists the bold (Virgil, Aeneid x.284)

Page 13, Panel 1 A refernce to the British Value Added Tax (VAT)???
Page 13, Panel 3 Bangers = sausages to the British.
Page 13, Panel 9 Caesar was originally defeated by Vercingetorix at Gergovia
Page 14, Panel 1 Veni, vidi, vici: I came, I saw, I conquered (Julius Caesar)
Page 14, Panel 3 Ab imo pectore = From the bottom of the heart (literally: the chest). A phrase attributed to Julius Caesar
Page 14, Panel 6 Amongst the loot Caesar appears to have a pyramid, the Sphinx and a typically tacky seaside souvenir from Britain. The Swiss are famous for their watches and clocks (including cuckoo clocks).
Page 14, Panel 8 Caesar's commentary on the Gallic Wars
Page 15, Panel 2 "Vade retrom, Satanas" = Latin version of Matthew 16:23 - "Get behind me, Satan"
Page 15, Panel 3 Puy de dome = mountain in Chaîne des Puys, a volcanic range in South Central France. The Puy de Dome is the youngest volcanic features and last erupted about 5760 BC
Page 22, Panel 8 Sol lucet omnibus = the sun shines on everyone (Petronius, Satyricon, 100).

'Hic! Haec! Hoc!' = This is in Latin. Hic is Masculine. Haec is Feminine, and Hoc is Neuter.

Page 25, Panel 3 This is equivalent to a modern-day "typing pool".
Page 26, Panel 2 Carpe diem: Seize the day
Page 27, Panel 8 Demobbed: retired from the army
Page 30, Panel 9 Bread & Circuses = Panem et circenses, from Juvenal, Satires x.80 60-130 AD)
Page 31, Panel 9 Roman roads featured mile stones. But why 'CXV' on the mile stone???
Page 38, Panel 1 NCO = Non-commissioned officer, i.e. legionary, decurion or centurion (modern-day would be private, corporal, sergeant).
Page 40, Panel 7 (biblical reference) "Let he who hath not sinned cast the first stone" (John 8:7)
Page 42, Panel 9 Bis repetita don't always placent = Things said twice don't always please. [Meaning:] It is unpleasant to have to repeat things. [The classical proverb is "bis repetita non placent" (Horace, Ars Poetica, 365).]

Table 11.2. Asterix and the Chieftain's Shield - Names

Name (in order of appearance) Comment
Diagnostix Diagnostics: determining an illness
Noxius Vapus Noxious vapors: poisonous gasses
Wineanspirix Wine and spirits
Localpolitix Local politics
Forinpolitix Foreign politics
Thermostatix Thermostats
Caius Pusillanimus Pusilanimous: cowardly
Lucius Circumbendibus Circumbendibus: a roundabout way
Anasthesia Anasthesia: pain killer
Memoranda Plural of Memorandum
Marcus Carniverus Carniverus: meat eating
Therapeutix Therapeutic: healing
Applejus Apple juice
Prunejus Prune juice
Carrotjus Carrot juice
Tomatojus Tomato juice
Titus Crapulus Crapulous: sick from drinking