Asterix and the Actress: Latin Jokes Explained

Book 31 - Asterix and the Actress


The story. Asterix and Obelix suddenly have the same birthday, though in previous books we've seen Obelix celebrating his on his own. Could it be that Uderzo is just making it up as he goes? Or was this just some early fan trolling?

Their mothers come to the village to join the birthday feast, while their fathers go to the pub. Someone inside the pub burps 'hic, haec, hoc'.

Professor Ibrox explains:

"We've done this one!

"It was really really clever when it was first used in Chieftain's Shield, but it's repeated in this book several times. It feels like Uderzo's Latin was on a par with yours, and he just kept going back to the well."


The story. In one of the most boring plots ever, Pompey the Great wants his sword back or zzzzzomething. Who cares? The mothers of Asterix and Obelix are hassling them to get married. That's fun for kids to read!

The Romans have found an actress who can play the part of Panacea, a total babe that Obelix has the hots for. She tries to get the sword back with her feminine wiles. Stuff happens, Asterix drinks magic potion, literally bounces around France and into the Atlantic.

Um, what?

It's just a device to wedge the pirates into the story.

Professor Ibrox explains:

"Ceterarum Rerum Prudens translates directly as 'prudent in other things'.

"It would seem to come from 'Sane ceterarum Rerum pater familias et prudens et attentus', which if memory serves is from Cicero's Pro Quinctio. You know, the one about the zombies.

"Ha! Made you google! That whole phrase means 'indeed in other things father was clever and attentive', the implication being that in one respect he wasn't clever or attentive. Like my da - he was a pretty good one, all things considered, but had one fatal flaw - a crippling fear of breezes, gusts, or light winds - that eventually saw him committed.

"In this comic perhaps the aim is to suggest that the pirate captain is generally a good leader with one Achilles heel - the Gauls. And that would seem to fit - in some stories we see the pirates have been quite successful just before running into Asterix and Obelix."

(By the way, Asterix is subsequently saved by a dolphin. It's tragic.)


The story. Stuff happens. Asterix and Obelix find out that their dads are in prison, and go to break them out. The guard says, 'Gauls running about free in my prison?!? Quis, quid, ubi, quibus, auxiliis, cur, quomodo, quando???'

Professor Ibrox explains:

"We've done this one! Who, what, where, with what, why, how, when?

"But while in Golden Sickle it was really cleverly used, here it feels like 'oh let's chuck in some Latin'.

"This is the worst Asterix book I've ever read. The next one is better, right?"