Asterix and the Banquet (French: Le tour de Gaule d'Asterix) is the fifth volume of the Asterix comic book series, by René Goscinny (stories) and Albert Uderzo (illustrations). It was first serialized in Pilote issues 172-213 in 1963.

After the latest bashing of the Roman legions by the Gauls, the Romans try to contain the threat from the Gaulish village by building a stockade around it, threatening to isolate the Gauls from the rest of the world. In response, Asterix and Obelix make a bet with them: the two Gauls will break out and claim their right as Gauls to travel freely all over their land, collecting the local delicacies and bringing them back to prove their point. Ham from Lutetia, fizzy wine from Durocortorum, fish stew from Massila in the south... soon their shopping bag is full.

Outwitting Romans, thieves, and a couple of traitorous Gauls, they set off for home... but who's that little dog that has been following them all the way from Lutetia?

  • Lutetia (Paris): ham
  • Camaracum (Cambrai): humbugs (in the English translation; in the original a similar sweet called "Bêtise de Cambrai")
  • Durocortorum (Reims): Champagne (not named as such)
  • Lugdunum (Lyons) sausages and quenelles
  • Nicæ (Nice): Niçoise salad (named "Nicæoise" salad)
  • Massilia (Marseilles) fish stew (i.e. bouillabaisse)
  • Tolosa (Toulouse): sausages
  • Aginum (Agen): prunes
  • Burgidala (Bordeaux): oysters and white wine
  • The Latin phrase "Exegi monumentum aere perennius" is uttered by a legionnaire during the construction of a wall (page 7). This is a reference to the same quote made by the Roman poet Horace. Translated, it means: "I have erected a monument more lasting than bronze."
  • Fun is poked at various French regional stereotypes:
    • The traffic jams in Paris (Lutetia in the comic strip) are spoofed.
    • The phrase: "Je vous promets qu'on n'a pas fini d'en parler de l'affaire du courrier de Lugdunum !" is a reference to the trial "le courrier de Lyon", where an innocent one was sentenced for the murder of postmen and the theft of their mail in 1796.
    • The inhabitants of Lutetia (Paris) are shown going to Nicæ (Nice) for their summer holiday. (Obelix refers to Nicae as the "Gaulish Riviera".) Like modern Parisian travelers, the visitors from Lutetia cause huge traffic jams with their carts on the road into Nicæ, and huge crowds on the beach.
    • The inhabitants of Massilia (Marseille) are hot-blooded and shown to exaggerate enormously.
  • The idea of using bread crumbs to find one's way back is a reference to Hansel and Gretel or the French fairy tale Hop o' My Thumb.
  • The scenes in the tavern in Massilia on page 36 are references to the film César (1936) by Marcel Pagnol. The characters are caricatures of the actors in the film, including Raimu.
  • After Asterix and Obelix sink the pirates ship, an elderly pirate quotes Lucan in The Pharsalia: "Victrix causa diis placuit, sed victa catoni." ("The victorious cause was pleasing to the gods, but the lost cause was pleasing to Cato.")
  • On the cover of the album, the sack is coloured incorrectly (green with a yellow patch).
  • In the original French version, the camp centurion in this story (Gracchus Nenjetépus) is the same as that of the previous volume, Asterix the Gladiatorthe only time a centurion appears in more than one album. However, in all major translations, he is given a different name in this volume (in the English version, he is named Gracchus Armisurplus in Asterix the Gladiator, and Lotuseatus in this album).
  • Dogmatix is introduced in this book. He is first seen outside the pork butcher's shop in Lutetia. He follows Asterix and Obelix (who do not notice him during the entire journey) all across Gaul back to their village. Obelix notices him before the victory feast because he barks for the very first time and is rewarded with a bone.
  • Dogmatix was originally supposed to be a literally running gag in this story alone. However, the authors decided that he should stay in the series as a mascot, violating Goscinny's original no-pets rule.
  • In the first version, the tour was supposed to go the other way around.
  • In another initial version, other towns were considered but eliminated for lack of space:
  • Cæsarodunum (Tours): rillettes
  • Vesunna (Périgueux): foie gras
  • Bæterræ (Béziers): wine
  • Arelate (Arles): sausage
  • Cabello (Cavaillon): melons
  • Cularo (Grenoble): walnuts (in French, "Grenoble nuts")
  • Genabum (Orleans): aromatic vinegar
  • Suindinum (Le Mans): chicken.
  • Even though Asterix and Obelix visit Rotomagus (Rouen) and Gesocribatum (Le Conquet), they don't buy their local specialties (probably crêpes for Le Conquet).
  • Much of the humor behind the traits and perculeralities of the different Regional French people are likely lost on readers who are natively French.

See AlsoEdit

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