Q - What is this blog about?
A - It's stuff written by Andrew Girardin. And comics and games.
Q - I'm weakminded and need to be popular. What do my peers say about it?
A - "Your blog is so funny! It's the best written blog! Why don't you write a full-length novel? I'd gladly buy it!"
Q - Is Andrew that guy who translates the Asterix jokes?
A - Yes.
Q - Why doesn't he just stick to that?
A - Good point. Don't know.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Asterix the Gaul: Latin Jokes Explained
Ever wondered what the Latin bits in Asterix were all about? Didn't go to a good school? Then you're viewing the right blog. With the help of my friend Professor Ibrox, who speaks perfect Latin, I'll explain the whole deal.
Book 1 - Asterix the Gaul
1. The story - Asterix has beaten up some legionaries. They lick their wounds in Latin.
Prof Ibrox explains: "It's not a typo; Accidence is a real word. Obviously, the joke is that accidence sounds like accidents. Accidence is the part of grammar where things are declined or conjugated: e.g. amo, amas, amat. The first legionary says 'vae victo, vae victis', which means 'Woe unto the one who has been conquered, woe unto those who have been conquered.' Victo is dative singular, victis is dative plural. In short, he's declining in the grammatical sense.
"So when the second legionary says 'We decline', it brings the whole grammar joke together. Plus there's a natural association between 'decline' and Romans - as anyone who has tried to wade through Gibbon's seminal Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire will know."
2. The story - Asterix and Getafix are funning with the Romans - they've made a fake magic potion and fed it to the guy in the blue tunic. The centurion, Crismus Bonus, asks for a volunteer to get smacked in the chops. His troops don't seem to have heard him...
Prof Ibrox explains: "The first guy is quoting from, of all things, the Bible in Latin - Ecclesiastes 1:2. Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas means 'Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.' The next guy says 'de facto', which means 'totally, dude.' They are just making small talk instead of volunteering.
"As is the next guy. He simply asks, how are you doing? Personally, I'd have volunteered. As a kid in Glasgae it was normal for complete strangers to give you a friendly uppercut. Just for laughs."