Chapter 18. Asterix and the Laurel Wreath

Rene Goscinny

Albert Uderzo

English Translations: Anthea Bell & Derek Hockridge


A drunken Vitalstatistix bets his brother-in-law that he can provide a stew seasoned with Caesar's laurel wreath. It is up to Asterix & Obelix to travel to Rome and come up with the goods ...
The backgrounds look a bit strange on this one for some reason, and the writing in the word balloons is thinner and more slanted. Perhaps Uderzo was trying a thinner pen. If so, it doesn't survive into the next book. And it may be just a printing error. Harry Fluks says it's not in his Dutch printing.

Table 18.1. Asterix and the Laurel Wreath - Annotations

Page, Panel Comment
Page 1, Panel 2 Fructarii = fruit sellers; Peponarii = melon merchant; Olitores = cultivators of herbs and vegetables; Piscatores = fishermen; Vinarii = vintners; Silignarii = wheat flour millers ???; Pastillai = pastry chef
Page 1, Panel 4 Sicambres: See annotations for Page 23, Panel 4 in Asterix in Switzerland
Page 3, Panel 7 See Asterix and Cleopatra
Page 4, Panel 8 "When a man is tired of Lutetia, he is tired of life." Samuel Johnson, 1777: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."
Page 5, Panel 1 cena = lunch in early Roman times or dinner in Classical Roman times
Page 8, Panel 9 Taberna Bibulus = pub / tavern (taberna = store, bibulus = drink)
Page 9, Panel 8 Why doesn't this guy look very Greek (like in 'Olympic Games')??? Perhaps this is a real person???
Page 10 Panel 3 (slave market). This is actually the first time a naked breast (and nipple?) appears in an Asterix album. Look closely at the Numidian and the Greek female slaves at middle right; A "Parthian shot" (often referred to as a parting shot) comes from the Parthians of ancient ran, whose horsemen in battle feigned retreat and then fired their arrows back at the enemy; Hoplites = heavily armed infantryman of Greece
Page 12, Panel 1 The statues are Rodin's 'The Thinker', Polydoros and Athanodoros' 'The Lakoon' and Myron's 'The Discus Thrower' respectively.
"The Thinker" by Uderzo
"The Thinker" by Auguste Rodin
"The Lacoon" by Uderzo
"The Lacoon" by Polydoros and Athanodoros
"The Discus Thrower" by Uderzo
"The Discus Thrower" by Myron
Page 14, Panel 5 Domus = house
Page 14, Panel 6 Cubiculum = sleeping area
Page 18, Panel 1 Triclinium: dining room with couches
Page 22, Panel 1 The views of the villa here are authentic
Page 24, Panel 5 Quo vadis = where are you going?
Page 24, Panel 8 Vadere quo = To go where?
Page 26, Panel 4 Gloria victis = Glory to the vanquished; Veritas odium parit = Part of the Latin phrase "Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit" (Terence, Andria L.68) meaning "Obsequiousness begets friends, truth hatred"
Page 29, Panel 5 Delenda (est) Carthago = Carthage must be destroyed. Cato used it as the closing line in every speech he made to the Roman Senate till the Third Punic War when Carthage was destroyed.
Page 33, Panel 3 Tarpeian rock = a cliff on Capitoline Hill in Rome from which traitors were thrown to their death.
Page 36, Panel 7 Caricature of French ringmaster Jean Richard's circus act.
Page 37, Panel 5 Sicarii, effractores, raptores = Assasins, burglars (literally, "fracture") and street robbers. Sebaciaria = night watchmen. (from the subtitles in Dutch).
Page 38, Panel 3 urbs = suburbs
Page 39, Panel 2 "Dido, dido, give me your answer do..." = "Bicycle built for two..."; "There's an old Mola by the Flumen ..." = Probably based on the folk song Nellie Dean; "The Bells of Hades go Ting-a-ling-a" = Reference to popular WWI song "The Bells of Hell' which was also popularized in the movie 'Oh! What a Lovely War'; "hic," "haec," and "hoc," = The word "this" in male, female and neuter forms respectively in Latin.
Page 40, Panel 9 Bar Aurigarum = Bar of Charioteers

Table 18.2. Asterix and the Laurel Wreath - Names

Name (in order of appearance) Comment
Homeopathix Homeopathy: "medical" theory of giving the patient very small amounts of drugs which in large doses would produce similar symptoms to the disease
Tapioca A bland pudding
Seminola A British school lunch dessert: "a really disgusting cream sludge, with the texture of sand"
Kumakros Come across
Typhus Typhus: nasty infections disease
Fibula Thin outer leg bone between knee and ankle
Tibia Thicker inner leg bone between knee and ankle
Metatarsus The five bones in the foot between ankle and toes
Osseus Humerus Osseus: bone-like; humerus: bone in arm from shoulder to elbow
Autodidax Autodicact: someone self-taught
Goldendelicius Golden delicious: type of green-yellow apple
Locus Classicus Locus classicus: a passage often cited as authoritative or illustrative - classical reference
Titus Nisprius Nisprius: court in which a cause of action is originally heard
Cato Historical: Cato the Elder (the Censor) 234-149 BC, Roman statesman
Habeuscorpus Habeus corpus: safeguards against illegal detention or imprisonment. Literally means "have the body".