Chapter 15. Asterix and the Roman Agent

Rene Goscinny

Albert Uderzo

English Translations: Anthea Bell & Derek Hockridge


Julius Caesar tries psychological warfare to defeat the little Gaulish village and sends expert troublemaker Tortuous Convolvulus to set friend against friend and almost succeeds: see jealousy spread as the Gauls become suspicious of each other! Can Asterix and Obelix, with the expert aid of the druid Getafix, outwit the weedy but wily Convolvulus and get the village back to normal?

Table 15.1. Asterix and the Roman Agent - Annotations

Page, Panel Comment
Page 1, Panel 4 Pleb = member of the lowest class in Roman society; Plebiscite = a popular vote on some matter
Page 1, Panel 5 Mon repos: (French) My rest; Mea Requies: My rest. A popular name for houses in the British countryside.
Page 2, Panel 4 'Et tu Brute' = See Asterix the Gladiator. Strangely, in the Frech version Caesar says "Tu quoque, fili" meaning "You too, my son". Perhaps because 'Et Tu Brute' was the Anglo Saxon Shakespeare's version.
Page 3, Panel 4 I over VIII = "One over eight". Meaning drunk
Page 5, Panel 7 Coventry: banishment. Used by the Cavaliers in the 17th century since the town was strongly Roundhead allied.
Page 7, Panel 4 Auri sacra fames = cursed craving for gold! (Virgil, Aeneid iii.6)
Page 9, Panel 1 The centurion is the Italian born French actor Lino Ventura (1919-87). He acted in many gangster movies.
Page 26, Panel 8 Quid? = What?
Page 30, Panel 6 Munda = town in Spain where Caesar won a victory over the sons of Pompet in 45 BC

Table 15.2. Asterix and the Roman Agent - Names

Name (in order of appearance) Comment
Stradivarius Stradivarius: very famous maker of violins
Brutus Historical: Marcus Junius Brutus, adopted son of Julius Caesar and one of the conspirators who murdered him, hence "Et tu, Brute?"
Tortuous Convulvulus Tortuous = twisted; convulvulus = twining plants, funnel-shaped flowers and triangular leaves, blindweed. Convuluted = twisted.
Pompey Historical person - Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (106-48 BC), Roman general and triumvirate. Not pleased when Caesar dissolved the triumvirate to become supreme, civil war ensued.
Aberdeenangus Aberdeen Angus: a breed of black, hornless cattle from Scottland, raised for beef (Black Angus)
Giantortus Giant tortoise
Felix Platypus Platypus: duckbill, a strange monotreme. A caricature of French actor Lino Ventura (1919-1987).
Magnumopus Magnum opus: someone's greatest work
Homunculus Homunculus: little man, dwarf