A big thanks to Sergio Gelato for translating over half the Latin phrases in here. Thanks to Harry Fluks for some information on book order. Other credits are given to those with significant new information, not just for typos and such, sorry. First one to submit a reference gets the credit.
This annotation is copyrighted not for financial reasons, just for a bit of control over reproduction - a lot of effort went into this. If you want to publish any of this in any medium for any strange reason, contact me.
This annotation has been prepared because not only the authors (Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, and later just Uderzo) have been rather clever and sometimes obscure, but because the translators (Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge for the English, Robert Steven Caron for the American) have for the most part done a fantastic job. There are jokes and references that don't appear in the original text. I _know_ I'm missing some of the jokes, and it yanks my chain. I learned a lot compiling this - who would think that caseous meant "cheeselike?"
One thing to note is that a great deal of work has gone into the books to make them accurate as possible. When you read "Asterix and the Olympic Games" you'll note how realistically drawn the buildings are - and that's because Uderzo has drawn them from the best information at the time. The bard sometimes will use some really bizarre instrument that turns out to have actually existed. Most of these aren't noted.
So one set of annotation material are the obscure references and occasional Latin, and another other will be the names. As you've seen, every Asterix character has a name that means something. Sometimes it's obvious, sometimes it's a pain in the neck. The third category of references are the occasional famous persons who will appear in the drawings. The standard Asterix characters have a recognizable look to them and these usually stand out, but sometimes it's hard to tell.
I am not trying to explain all the jokes and puns and things that are hopefully obvious to everyone. This is for some of the names which are tricky, and especially for the Latin, which most people don't speak and in Asterix is often classical in nature. In fact, there are several Latin quotes I have translated that I know are classical in nature but I don't know the original source. Please provide!
This is billed as the Annotations for the English and American translations not to be chauvinistic but because the names/jokes change from language to language. Especially the character names, but other things as well. I happen to think that Bell and Hockridge have done a first rate job, and Caron seems to be making a good start. There are jokes and references which don't appear in the original text. Thus what's valid for the English version may not hold for other versions, although some things will. Since the translators are British, some of the annotations are going to be for the benefit of Yanks. Page numbers in the books are given from the first actual page of the story, since the number of lead-in pages varies by publisher, edition, and translation. Later Asterixes are actually numbered in the drawings, but some aren't. So if yours starts on page 5, that's page 1 in this annotation, so add (or subtract) 4 from everything. Without further ado, here we go... If you have any corrections or additions, please send them to me. Credit will be given to the first to respond on something. Especially notice the "???" where I know something should be here, but I'm at a loss. Also note that I have undoubtedly completely missed some references that aren't obvious.