Chapter 29. Asterix and the Secret Weapon

Rene Goscinny

Albert Uderzo

English Translations: Anthea Bell & Derek Hockridge


A woman bard is unheard of in Ancient Gaul - but when the mothers in Asterix and Obelix's little village decide that besides being a terrible musician Cacofonix, the local bard and school teacher is not educating their children properly, it's Bravura they call in. The men of the village are horrified at first, but Bravura proves a useful ally in countering Julius Caesar's secret weapon - a troop of female legionaries who the chivalrous Gauls cannot fight. But Bravura has no such scruples, and together with Asterix thinks up a good idea.

Table 29.1. Asterix and the Secret Weapon - Annotations

Page, Panel Comment
Page 0 (The Goscinny/Uderzo drawing) Actually, Uderzo is tall and thin, Goscinny was shorter and portly.
Page 1, Panel 8 Pethth = ??? Is this 'crazy' as lisped by a child?
Page 3, Panel 4 "Qualis Artifex Pereo": Often attributed as Nero's last words, but he had quite a few after these.
Page 4, Panel 2 Oppidum = Latin for the main settlement in an administrative area.
Page 4, Panel 4 "Oriental 'Djeans', Levix and Leggings": Levis Jeans.
Page 4, Panel 6 "One times three is Asterix....": Is this rhyme from anything ???
Page 7, Panel 4 "Armorica! Armorica! God shed his grace on thee!" = Adaptation of "America The Beautiful" by Katharine Lee Bates
Page 8, Panel 2 Adenoids: growths of tissue in the upper throat behind the nose.
Page 8, Panel 3 "In Lutetia's fair city where the girls are so pretty" = Adaptation of Irish ditty "Molly Malone".
Page 8, Panel 7 Cardia and Mytili: cities. Mitili(ni) was the capital of Lesbos, which may or may not be a commentary by the translators...
Page 10, Panel 7 Gloria victis: Glory to the vanquished.
Page 11, Panel 6 "What's in a name?" = What's in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet (Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet II.ii.43)
Page 15, Panel 1 I am Sergent Peppus' Lonely ... : A popular song / alubum by The Beatles
Page 15, Panel 8 Desinit in piscem mulier formosa superne: So that which is a beautiful woman on top ends in a black and ugly fish (Horace, Ars Poetica 3).
Page 22, Panel 3 Quod erat demonstrandum = which was the thing to be proved (Euclid). Used in proofs as QED.
Page 30, Panel 3 The guy on the right is definitely someone ???. In the Dutch version he has an italian accent.
Page 33, Panel 9 Anacreontic: Poem written in the manner of Anacreon (died 478 BC), convivial in tone.
Page 40, Panel 5 Rusticated: Suspended temporarily from college or university, in England
Page 41, Panel 5 Patrician: A member of the roman nobility
Page 43, Panel 2 Onomatopoeic: a word that sounds like the sound it names (boom, cuckoo, bang).
Page 44, Panel 5 Impresario: manager of a theater company

Table 29.2. Asterix and the Secret Weapon - Names

Name (in order of appearance) Comment
Bravura A type of music requiring exceptional ability
Mollia Malonus Molly Malloy (Malone), from the song
Manlius Claphamomnibus Clapham: a district in SW London. Omnibus: double decker bus. "the man on the Clapham omnibus" is familiar British phrase for "the average man."
Diorix Christian Dior, a famous clothes designer
Cosmetix Cosmetics. Check out his outfit!
Ziegfeldfollix The Ziegfeld follies. Florence Ziegfeld from 1869-1932.