- Books, Literature, and Writing
Asterix The Gaul - The Characters
What You Need To Know About Asterix The Gaul
A little Gaulish village on the Armorican coast still holds out against the Roman forces in 50 BC by the fortune of having a village druid who has discovered a potion to give the Gauls superhuman strength - this is the premise for over 30 graphic novels by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo.
The Asterix books were favourites of mine as a child, because of the vivid illustrations, crazy characters and historical references. I have continued to read them as an adult and I am constantly amazed at what I have learned from them; history, smidgens of Latin and the art of the pun - I even referenced Asterix in a degree assignment much to the delight of the lecturer marking it.
This lens introduces the characters from the Asterix Books as well as highlighting Asterix products.
The Asterix Books Numbers 1-5
Here are links to the first 5 Asterix Books on Amazon. If you are a real Asterix Book enthusiast please take a look at my Asterix Books page where I discuss all the stories.
Meet The Gauls - Funny Characters With Fun Names
In the first half of the lens I will introduce some of the Gaulish characters from the Asterix stories. Many of the characters appear in many, if not all, the books and a few others appear in a couple of stories.
The following are the Gauls that readers will meet more than once when reading the Asterix books.
The Gaulish Village
Asterix's village is located on a peninsula in the province of Armorica in northeastern Gaul. The rest of Gaul is occupied by the Romans who, unable to defeat this village, have surrounded it by four heavily fortified garrisons: Aquarium, Laudanum, Totorum and Compendium.
The occupants of Asterix's village are scared of nothing, except of the sky falling on their heads, although the mention of the scene of Gaulish defeat, the battle of Alesia, is strictly prohibited!
There are more pictures and snippets of information on this excellent website: Asterix NZ - Asterix's Village.
Asterix is the hero of all the stories and the most cunning and resourceful of the Gauls. He is a bachelor and remains so throughout the series of books. Although he repeatedly comes to the rescue of the Gauls and their allies, as he is trusted by the village chief above all others, he'd much rather be out with his friend Obelix hunting boars in the forest; he isn't adverse to a little Roman-bashing fun either.
Readers are introduced to Asterix in "Asterix the Gaul" when he and Getafix play jokes on the Romans whilst being held hostage and he continues to be a thorn in the side of the Romans in every story - although he inadvertently helps Julius Caesar defeat Scipio in North Africa!
The Asterix Books Numbers 6-10
Don't forget to visit my lens which covers all the Asterix Books.
Obelix is Asterix's best friend and accompanies him on all his adventures. Obelix fell into the magic potion when he was a baby, making him possess superhuman strength for the rest of his life. This amazing strength proves useful in Obelix's trade: Menhir maker and delivery man.
Obelix's favourite pastimes are bashing Romans and hunting wild boars and he is particularly sensitive about the word "fat" being mentioned.
Obelix is a loveable character and gets to play a starring role in the excellent Obelix and Co. where he becomes a menhir tycoon.
Getafix is the village druid who repeatedly wins prizes for his magic potion at the annual convention of druids in the Forest of Carnutes. Without this magic potion the Gauls would not have their superhuman strength to hold off the Romans.
The loss of Getafix's potion through kidnapping, lack of ingredients, memory loss etc. is a constant theme through the Asterix series and things get to their worst in Asterix and the Big Fight when Getafix is crushed by Obelix's Menhir and goes mad.
Getafix is crucial to the Gauls and to most of the stories. He has his finest moments in Asterix and the Goths where his disinformation starts a Gothic civil war, Asterix the Gaul where he teases the Romans by insisting they look for strawberries and Asterix and Cleopatra where he becomes infatuated with Cleopatra.
Vitalstatistix is the chief of the Gaulish village and is a veteran of the Battle of Alesia where the Roman's defeated the Gaulish army led by Vercingetorix.
Vitalstatistix is something of an oaf and consistently relies on the advice of Asterix and Getafix when making difficult decisions. However, he is the perfect chief for a village full of Gaulish lunatics and he is always near the front of the queue when it comes to destroying the nearest Roman garrison.
Vitalstatistix constantly argues with his wife, Impedimenta, and he is most put out when she uses her pet name for him, Piggywiggy, in front of the other Gauls.
Vitalstatistix is a peripheral character in many stories although he comes to the fore in Asterix and the Big Fight where he defeats a Gallo-Roman chief in single combat and Asterix and the Chieftan's Shield where he has to go to a health farm.
Geriatrix is the oldest member of the Gaulish village and as such no one really listens to him. He has a trophy wife much younger than himself, much to the disgust of many of the other Gaulish women. His age does not stop him from guzzling magic potion and joining in the Roman-thumping fun and like many of the peripheral Gaulish characters he gets a lot of coverage in Asterix and the Olympics where he is part of the Gaulish team that is put out of action when their magic potion is discovered in a doping scandal.
The Asterix Books Numbers 16-20
Visit my Asterix Books page to read about the highlights and jokes in all of the books.
Cacofonix is the village bard whose singing is not to everyone's taste - in fact most of the villagers do what they can to keep his mouth shut.
Cacofonix's voice is so bad that it can create rain, a skill which is much sought after in Asterix and the Magic Carpet, but the village blacksmith, Fulliautomatix, stands guard over Cacofonix for much of the time to prevent him singing.
Cacofonix's finest hour is in Asterix and the Normans where he finds that his style of music is much in demand in Lutetia (Paris) and he is able to teach the Normans the meaning of fear.
Impedimenta is Chief Vitalstatistix's wife and as such she considers herself the most important woman in the Gaulish society, frequently commandeering her husband's shield and shield bearers to go shopping.
Although usually a peripheral character, Impedimenta is highly prominent in the Gaul's dealings with a bogus soothsayer in Asterix and the Soothsayer and a visit to her brother's house to eat cow's hoof mould results in the eventual theft of Julius Caesar's laurels in Asterix and the Laurel Wreath.
The Asterix Books Numbers 21-25
Learn more at the Asterix Books lens.
With a name like Unhygienix it is surprising that the village fish seller does any business at all, in fact with amount of boar consumed throughout the stories, fish is very rarely eaten and it is only when the forest is logged in The Mansion of the Gods that business is good.
Unhygienix's role in the stories is to be the butt of fishy jokes which usually result in a village brawl with most of the fish stock used as weapons.
Bacteria (Unhygienix's wife) also has a name designed to kill the fish trade stone dead but she is often to be seen preparing the stock - getting it ready for sale or use in a village brawl.
Bacteria features briefly in many Asterix adventures and is a prominent member of women's groups in the Gaulish village. Like most of the other Gaulish women, Bacteria has her best moments in Asterix and the Secret Weapon when a Roman agent begins a women's rights movement.
The Asterix Books 26-30
Fulliautomatix is the village blacksmith, although he has a spell as a menhir delivery man in Obelix and Co. and converts his shop into an Antiques emporium in The Mansions of the Gods.
In most stories Fulliautomatix's role is to threaten Cacofonix with violence and argue with Unhygienix. However, he is part of the Gaulish team which travels to Athens for the Olympic Games in Asterix at the Olympics, although he is prevented from competing when the magic potion is ruled as a banned peformance-enhancing substance.
The blacksmith's wife never gets a name of her own but is featured in many adventures as a peripheral character. She is usually to be seen disapproving of Fulliautomatix's fighting or arguing with one of the other women. However, she is part of Impedimenta's social circle and as such is at the front of the women's rights group in Asterix and the Secret Weapon.
The Asterix Books Numbers 31-33
Dogmatix is Obelix's pet; they met in Asterix and the banquet and haven't parted since. Dogmatix is a committed environmentalist, howling in sadness when a tree is felled and will attack any Roman that looks like he might hurt a tree.
Despite Dogmatix's small size he regularly joins in the attacks on Roman camps and whether or not he should go on adventures is a constant bone of contention between Asterix and Obelix.
Dogmatix is a hero in Asterix and Cleopatra when he guides the Gauls out of a pyramid and in Asterix and the Black Gold when he discovers oil.
Dogmatix is such a popular character that he spawned his own series of books for small children.
The absurdly beautiful Panacea appears in just a few stories but is notable for entrancing Obelix who is only able to utter "Wkrstksft!" he is so bedazzled by her. Panacea also takes possession of Dogmatix for a short time such is Obelix's interest in her.
In Asterix and the Actress, Latraviata, a Roman actress, poses as Panacea and uses Obelix's love for her to attempt to bring down the Gauls.
Who Is Your Favourite Gaul?
Which of the Gauls is your favourite?
If you like the Asterix books then perhaps the movies are of interest? Some of the movies are cartoons, others are live action. Some of the movies follow the stories closely whereas others use a lot of artistic license.
Meet The Romans
In the second half of the lens I will introduce some of the Romans from the Asterix stories. Not so many Romans are reappearing characters but there are some very memorable ones.
The following are the Romans that readers will probably find very memorable when reading the Asterix books.
Julius Caesar is one of the very few real-life characters who appears in the Asterix stories. He consistently turns up for a few scenes in most Asterix adventures, but in some he has a larger role. Prone to making classical quotes ("et tu Brute", "Veni Vidi Vici") and referring to himself in the third person he threatens anyone who troubles him with being thrown to the lions.
In Asterix and Son, Julius Caesar shows his compassionate side by having his troops rebuild the Gaulish village after they protected his son from Brutus. But, most of the time he is busy figuring out ways in which he can finally conquer that small piece of Gaul that still defies him.
Spurius Brontosaurus has one of the most absurd names in the whole Asterix series; this was enough to get him onto this list.
Spurius Brontosaurus is a Roman entrusted with a hostage, the son of a Spanish chief called Huevos Y Bacon in Asterix in Spain. Unfortunately for him the hostage escapes and is helped to return to Spain by Asterix and Obelix. As he tries to recapture the hostage Spurius Brontosaurus is forced to pose as a Gypsy and has to give a rendition of a Romany song - something he doesn't do so well.
Asterix Fridge Magnets
Crismus Bonus is a Roman centurion who appears only in the first adventure, Asterix the Gaul. His name is one of the few puns I really understood as a child and as he is one of the most tormented of all the Romans in the Asterix series he appears on this list.
After taking Asterix and Getafix as his captives he tries to obtain the secret of the Gaul's magic potion, but Getafix and Asterix are too sly for him and end up making fools of all the Romans in the camp. Crismus Bonus is the victim of Getafix's memorable hair-growing potion which results in all the Romans growing enormous beards and having to tie their hair in ponytails.
The ridiculously named Voluptuous Arteriosclerosus is yet another Roman centurion who appears in only one adventure: Asterix and the Soothsayer. He is, however, one of the more ambitious Romans who has pretentions of rising to become the Emperor of Rome himself based on the predictions of the soothsayer.
Like many of the Roman centurions in Asterix adventures, Voluptuous Arteriosclerosus believes he can defeat the Gauls, this time with the help of the soothsayer. However, like most of those before and after him, his plan fails and he ends up getting bashed by the Gauls.
Asterix on DVD
Tremensdelirious is one of the very few Romans who appear in more than one Asterix adventure being present in Asterix and Caesar's Gift and Asterix and the Actress.
Tremensdelirious is a veteran Roman soldier who manages to get through 20 years service without being sober for one of them. As a "reward" he is given the title deeds to the Gaulish village by Caesar in Asterix and Caesar's Gilft. The loss of this deed gives the Romans a pretext to attack, resulting in their usual walloping by the Gauls.
In Asterix and the Actress, Tremensdelirious is ultimately responsible for another attack on the Gaulish village when he pawns Pompei's sword and shield.
Magnumpous is a Roman legionary who is far too dense to understand the complex schemes of Tortuous Convolvulous in Asterix and the Roman Agent. As a result of this stupidity he misinterprets psycological warfare as hitting people over the head with a huge club.
Magnumopus is one of few lowly legionaries to have a subplot devoted to him in the Asterix adventures and he stars in one of the funniest stories.
Goldendelicius is a Roman slave assigned to look after Asterix and Obelix when they sell themselves as slaves in Rome in Asterix and the Laurel Wreath. Because the Gauls were bought at the expensive "House of Typhus", Goldendelicius constantly refers to them as works of art and is highly concerned that they will take over his position as head slave.
Goldendelicius is somewhat correct in his concerns as the amazing hangover cure invented by Asterix makes the Gauls very popular slaves indeed.
Like most of the featured Romans in these adventures, Goldendelicius ends up second best, but does avoid getting bashed when he helps the Gauls to Caesar's wreaths.
Named after part of Pythagorus theorum, Squareonhethehypotenuse is one of a long list of Romans with a plan to defeat the Gauls, he is also on of the few that have come close to it. In The Mansions of the Gods, Squareonthehypotenuse is drafted by Caesar to design a new town right next to the Gaulish village and to assimilate the Gauls into Roman culture. With the felling of the forest and all the village shops becoming antique stores or fish merchants the plan nearly works, but when Obelix is let loose the Romans have problems.
Asterix in Other Languages
The Asterix adventures have been translated into a large number of other languages from the original French. Here are just a few examples of Asterix stories in languages other than English.
Noxius Vapus is Caesar's envoy, leading the Roman side of the hunt for Vercingetorix's shiled in Asterix and the Chieftan's Shield. Vapus fancies himself as a strongman-type ruler but the Gaul's consistently come up with schemes to make him look foolish and he spends much of the time searching charcoal piles for the shield and ending up covered in black soot.
Nefarius Purpus & Dubious Status
These two centurions probably suffer more torment than any other Romans in the series. In Asterix the Legionary these two Romans have the job of training Asterix and Obelix, as well as a rabble of other nationalities, to become Roman legionaries and join the North African campaign.
The disregard for discipline that the Gauls sow into the group of cadets drives these two centurions crazy and the Egyptian recruit who thinks the legion is a holiday camp tests their patience as much as Asterix and Obelix.
Both these centurions have nervous breakdowns and give into the demands for better meals and accommodation.
Asterix Video Clip
There are many people like myself - those who grew up reading Asterix and can't seem to grow up - which creates a market for a huge selection of Asterix figurines.
There is an incredible collection of limited edition pewter figures and buildings that make up Asterix's village - they are not cheap though! - Pewter Asterix Village
For collectors there seems to be an amazing Asterix village. It can be seen here on this French website - Asterix village.
An Asterix village collection is available for 199 Euros here Asterix Village Set
The Asterix Store has a wide selection of figure too.
Forbidden Planet sells a tube of all the main Gaulish Asterix characters: Gaulish figures.
Imaginaire have a large number of Asterix products including some interesting figurines.
Asterix Minature Showcase describes and pictures an amazing variety of Asterix figures. The advice is to look for them on EBay!
Here's another site displaying galleries of Asterix figures - not for sale!
Doubleclix's superbly designed blog is an extension of the official Asterix website carrying all the latest news about Asterix related products including computer game release dates, movie trailers and other developments - a must read for true Asterix fans.
Read Doubleclix's blog.
Asterix Computer Games
These games can be downloaded free by following the links below - enjoy.
Asterix and the Great Rescue - Asterix and Obelix must liberate the village Orvio and rescue their friend Dogmatix.
Asterix and the Power of the Gods - Asterix must recover the shield of Vercingetorix from the Romans.
There are also a number of games to play on the official Asterix website.
Pepe's Asterix games - a selection of Asterix themed games, worth looking at just so Asterix fans can select a football team of their favourite characters from an extensive set of illustrations.
More Asterix Computer Games
Here are some more Asterix computer games - these ones you have to pay for!
This 500 piece jigsaw is ideal for young fans of the Asterix books, or even for some older fans who just can't grow up.
I hope you enjoyed reading about the Asterix Characters on this lens. Please let me know your thoughts.