Asterix and the Soothsayer: Latin Jokes Explained

Book 19 - Asterix and the Soothsayer

Asterix and the Soothsayer doesn't contain any Latin jokes. I had planned to simply leave a note to that effect and move on to the next one, but Professor Ibrox thought we should write something. So I asked him to explain what Asterix meant to him when he was a kid.

Asterix Soothsayer appears

Professor Ibrox nostalgasises:

"My childhood love for Asterix starts with the simple fact that it was a comic. Comics were more fun than books. Most books in my local library didn't even have pictures inside. What a scam! So I mostly read Asterix and Tintin. As good as Tintin was, it was never my favourite.

"I was a short child. My oldest brother used to tease me by saying I was short because all my bones had fused together and I would end up with a hunchback and have to work in a bell tower. He all but ruined my childhood with his mean-spirited yet surprisingly literate bullying. So it was simply a revelation that here was a story where the little guy routinely beat up the big guys.

Soothsayer Asterix strikes guard

"I grew up in Glasgow, a city populated by feral drug addicts and beefy football hooligans. Everyone bigger than me, which was most people until I had a growth spurt at 17, was a threat, a menace, and a danger. So imagine my first impression of the Obelix character. He was bound to be the biggest bully of them all. But no! He was a gentle giant. Oh, he liked beating up Romans, but playfully; there was no malice in him. I liked him very much.

"Finally, even when I was knee high to a haggis I had political leanings. There are only three things you can trust the French to make: cheese, travel chaos, and subversive literature. And Asterix is subversive all right. Since I devoured it as a youth, I've been even more ready to stand up for the little man (who was often me), to fight against all odds, to reject imperialism in all its forms, and have grown to understand that for every situation there is a magic potion which solves everything. The Greeks called it nectar; today it is called lager."