The Setting and Characters

The setting…

Ostensibly the late Roman Republic, from the First Triumvirate through the civil wars (which form the background to Asterix the Legionary) and into the dictatorship of Julius Caesar.

In reality it is no such thing – this is modern day France mashed up with history where druids, monoliths and aqueducts co-exist with stockbrokers, pedestrian crossings and high-rise apartments. In this respect Asterix is comparable to The Flintstones – whose stone-age society mashes up cavemen, dolmens and dinosaurs with stonemasons, ┬átelevisions, and drive-ins. In Asterix, the Romano-Gaulish setting reflects on one level the (then) recent Nazi occupation of France and, on another more allegorical one, a chauvinistic French aversion to American cultural imperialism.

The Main Characters, their French names (where different) and their moustaches…

Asterix…

 

Title character.

Smug, self-righteous, annoyingly in the right about everything: probably the least sympathetic character ever to give his name to a franchise. Forever relied upon to safeguard the village from the Imperialist threat – either through his cunning or his penchant for long journeys abroad. He has a Yellow moustache.

Obelix…

Fat best friend and sidekick.

Sympathetic; loveable; sensitive; not the brightest monolith in the dolmen: a sort of sub-intellectual Sancho Panza. Sole executor of the production line and delivery service of fine ornamental menhirs. Childhood ablution in magic potion rendered its strength-endowing effect permanent – which comes in handy when Getafix is unavailable. Auburn moustache.

Getafix (Panoramix)…

 

Cantankerous druid: Brewer of the magic potion that allows the village to maintain its independent stance.

French name Panoramix is a reference to the mind-expanding effect of hallucinogens. English version is also drug-related but refers more to Heroin. White moustache inside white beard.

Vitalstatistix (Abracourcix)…

 

Fallible chief: Elected village leader.

From a generation older than Asterix and Obelix. Fought at ill-fated battle of Alesia that led to Gaul’s takeover. Subject of series’ least-subtle running gag: He is carried around the village on a shield and keeps falling off it. Brown moustache.

Cacofonix (Assurancetourix)…

 

Talentless crooner: village bard and teacher.

Singing is so bad that one’s only recourse is to insert parsley aurally. Ironically seems to have created every modern-day popular song. For the most part exists to convey that exact joke – to sing an anachronistic ditty then get bashed – but occasionally called on to further the storyline. Usually gagged and tied to a tree to prevent him providing the entertainment at banquets. Yellow moustache.

Unhygienix (Ordralphabetix)…

Inept fishmonger: Antagonist of Fulliautomatix.

His fish are never fresh, so they are not so much eaten as used as melee weapons. Yellow moustache.

Fulliautomatix (Cetautomatix)…

Belligerent Blacksmith: Antagonist of Unhygienix.

Particularly unappreciative of Cacofonix’s finer talents; and never slow to register his disapproval with a hammer. Red moustache

Geriatrix (Agecanonix)…

 

Chauvinistic nonogenerian: Villager’s resident xenophobe.

Reactionary old-man’s tendencies countered by discerning eye for young womanhood which has landed him a wife some 70 years his younger. White moustache.

Dogmatix (Idefix)…

Diminutive Dog: Obelix’s bottom-biting canine companion.

Clever near-literal translation retains the French meaning of Idee Fix whilst incorporating the word “Dog”. Displays morbid obsession with the welfare of trees. White moustache.

Julius Caesar…

 

Roman General and Dictator: Villain of series, either symbolically or in person.

Only historical character to make a regular appearance in Asterix. Most stories witness him either personally masterminding a fresh plan to annex Asterix’s village or having a minion do it on his behalf. Quite sympathetically portrayed as a man of honour. Later books depict historic battles with his own bickering senate. Shorn of moustache in the Roman manner.