Chapter 12. Asterix at the Olympic Games

Rene Goscinny

Albert Uderzo

English Translations: Anthea Bell & Derek Hockridge

American Translations: Robert Steven Caron


Asterix & Obelix, accompanied by their fellow villagers, travel to Greece to compete at the famous Olympic Games. There they must overcome the might of the Roman and Greek athletes to come out on top...
Always one of my favorites. Gluteus Maximus may have my vote for best name ever. This one introduced Geriatrix as well. There are several places in the American translation where the translator leaves things from the English translation that make no sense given the rest of his translation, for instance where he calls Solar Plexus (American name) Gluteus Maximus (English name). Apparently he was using the English text as a check. This looks to be his first attempt, it's not as good as "Asterix the Legionary"

Table 12.1. Asterix at the Olympic Games - Annotations

Page, Panel Comment
Page 1, Panel 2 (American) Semper Fidelis: Always faithful, Marine corps motto. E pluribus unum: United we stand.

(English) A reference to the famous Liverpool soccer anthem "You'll never walk alone" ???

Page 1, Panel 2 (American) A plebe belongs to the lowest Roman social class
Page 5, Panel 4 All-in wrestling = A combat event that was part of the ancient Olympic games. A combination of wrestling and boxing.
Page 7, Panel 6 Hecatombeon = The month when the Olympic games were held. The period between July 16 and August 13.
Page 11, Panel 1 Et nunc, reges intelligite... erudimini qui judicatis terram = And now, kings, please understand... [or: understand the kings, depending on whom the speaker is addressing] Learn [literally: be taught], you who judge the earth.
Page 17, Panel 6 "When Father Papered..." = A parody of "When Father Papered the Parlour" by R.R. Weston
Page 18, Panel 7 Obolos = Ancient unit of money. 1 drachme = 6 oboles.
Page 19, Panel 5 Acropolis = From the Greek word "Acropole" meaning "high city". The Acropolis was the fortified center of Greek city-states. Athens is the best known Acropole.
Page 22, panel 7 (English) In some countries one can return used bottles for a small refund of money.
Page 22, panel 8 (English) "that delicious veal" = see Asterix and the Banquet
Page 23, panel 7 (English) Is Geriatrix 93??
Page 24, panel 5 Heracles was the Greek name for the Roman demi-god Hercules.
Page 25, Panel 10 The caption on the left says GOSCINNY and the one on the right says UDERZO, and that's them in the drawings. The upper carvings say DESPOTES and TYRANNOS, which mean "despot" and "tyrant"
Page 27, Panel 3 "There is a Taberna..." = Reference to popular British song "There is a Tavern in town" by F. J. Adams circa 1891.
Page 27, Panel 4 "A-Roming..." = An English folk song - "A-roaming, a-roaming, 'cause roaming's been my ru-in, I'll go no more a-rowing with you, fair maid."
Page 30, Panel 8 (English) Socci = Soccer?

(alt.) Socus = plowshare. Given the context it probably means "pull your socks up" (Glen Koorey). Socci are light shoes in use among the Greeks (Matt Badley)

Page 30, Panel 10 Discoboli: discus throwers
Page 31, Panel 7 This is an anachronism. People who lived in BC did not know it and certainly did not reckon dates that way.
Page 34, Panel 7 The Colossus of Rhodes was an incredibly huge statue that straddled the entrance to their harbor. One of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Page 36, Panel 9 Mens sana in corpore sano = sound mind in a sound body (Juvenal, 60-130 AD, Satires x.356 )
Page 37, Panel 3 Hellanodikai = Organizers of the Olympic games. Between two and twelve in number.
Page 39, Panel 6 Quo vadis = "Where are you going?"
Page 40, Panel 8 Even the rooster is Greek.
Page 43, Panel 6 Quid = what? Quomodo = how?

Table 12.2. Asterix at the Olympic Games - Names in English Edition

Name (in order of appearance) Comment
Gluteus Maxiumus A large buttock muscle
Bilius Bilious: related to the green bile secreted by the liver, or bad-tempered
Gaius Veriambitius Very ambitious
Diabetes Diabetes: any disease characterized by excessive urine discharge
Invinoveritas In vino veritas: In wine is truth
Makalos Make a loss: lose money on something
Kudos Kudos: credit or praise
Phallintodiseus Fall into disuse
Thermos Thermos: an insulated bottle
Pugnatius Pugnacious: eager and ready to fight
Saintpancras Saint Pancras: a famous main-line British Rail terminus. Also a hospital.
Neuroses Neuroses: mental problems
Philibuster Filibuster: in the US Congress, a means of delaying by talking for hours or even days
Hellenes Inhabitants of southern Thessalia. From the 6th century B.C. this name was used to refer to all the Greeks who, according to legend, descended from Hellen, son of Decalion.

Table 12.3. Asterix at the Olympic Games - Names in American Edition

Name (in order of appearance) Comment
Solar Plexus Solar plexus: the area of the belly just below the sternum
Doltus Dolt: idiot
Vain Glorius Vainglorius: boastful and proud
Panorama Panorama: picture that encircles the viewers
Midas Midas: mythical king, everything he touched turned to gold
Taxiperilos Taxi perilous: dangerous taxi
Prometheus Prometheus: mythical titan who gave fire to man
Clytemnestra Clytemenstra: mythical wife of Agamemnon. She killed him with the help of her lover, then was killed by their son Orestes
Oedipus Oedipus: mythical King- unknowingly killed his father and married his mother, put his eyes out
Invinoveritas In vino veritas: In wine is truth
Vexatius Vexatious: irritating
Dallos Dallas: US soap opera
Grossomodo Combination of gross and Quasimodo (the hunchback of Notre Dame)

(alt.) a vulgar (in the sense of 'of the people') Latin expression for roughly estimated, approximately.

Malapropos Malapropos: something said that is not appropriate