Asterix hoists the white flag of surrender

Maybe Asterix Should Just Surrender to Caesar

The Gaulish Village on the map of France

In the Northwest corner of France, one small village holds out against the Roman control of Gaul.  Asterix, Obelix, Chief Vitalstatistix, the Druid Getafix et. al. have held off the Romans with a magic potion that gives them the strength to always fight back.  The hapless Romans, despite many attempts, have yet to conquer this one last holdout.

The village has become insular. It is self-sufficient, traveling outside the walls of their village only for food (boars!) and herbs.  They cut themselves off from the rest of civilization and only through extraordinary measures — and performance-enhancing potions — do they temporarily escape.

The reality is, the war is over.  Rome won.  They’ve conquered not just all of Italy, but most of Europe.  (And it’s going to stay that way for another 400 years or so.)

Why does this village continue to fight?

The case should be made that Asterix’s village would be in far better shape if they just surrendered.

A Thriving World, A Held-Back Village

No, seriously, how much damage are they doing to themselves by not giving into the Romans?  Asterix’s Village is stuck in time.  Other towns have roads and thriving populations, bigger buildings and lots of trade.  Banks are popping up.  There’s work for everyone.

Sure, the Romans take too much in taxes, but the people don’t live in fear of death, just taxes.  It’s not like they don’t get anything from those taxes. Why, they could travel to Rome and enjoy all the circuses and triumphs they can imagine.  Julius Caesar loves both of those, and spares no expense!

And don’t cheat and try to hide your taxes from Rome. They’ll catch up to you eventually.

We know the kids in the Village have school, but people like Cacofonix teach it.  How good is that educational system?

In Asterix and the Golden Sickle, Cacofonix is a teacher for the village's children

Basic economics seem to be beyond their grasp. Asterix and Obelix have no idea what supply and demand is.  They can’t sell a pen of boars for a fair market price, because they don’t know what it is, and don’t know how to compete. They can’t even sell themselves into slavery without blowing it.

Forward-looking farming and game-hunting skills are lost on them.

Their huts are ramshackle compared to the kinds of high rise “Mansions of the Gods” type of structures that can be built today.

What about the cultures around them? How much do they really know about what’s going on in the world?  They’re stuck in their village, sequestered from everyone else, merrily living in ignorance in the name of “freedom” that keeps them locked up behind their own walls!

Isn’t it time for them to grow up?  Isn’t it time to give up the fight?  It’s quaint and cute that they want to live like it’s still 56 BC and all, but now it’s closer to 46 BC and what’s changed?  The world is only moving faster, and they’re falling behind.

Nobody is coming to help them.  They’re alone and isolated.  Their time has come and gone.

Yeah, But Won’t Caesar Go All Vercingetorix On Them?

In "Asterix and the Chieftain's Shield," Vercingetorix lays down his arms on Caesar's feet.

After his surrender, Vercingetorix was held in a Roman jail for a few years and then choked to death.  Because #RomansDoItManually

But Vercingetorix killed many of Caesar’s troops. He had to pay the ultimate price.  And Vercingetorix knew that going in.

Caesar has a soft spot for Asterix.  Asterix helped Caesar win a battle in “Asterix the Legionary.”  Asterix entertained Caesar in “Asterix the Gladiator.”  Asterix impressed (!) Caesar in “Asterix the Gaul.”

Each time, Caesar let Asterix go, often with a special thanks or a favor.

We know that, in the future of “Asterix and the Missing Scroll“, Caesar will go to great lengths to save face over the missing chapter in his book of “Commentaries on the Gallic Wars” that mentions Asterix’s Village.  Wouldn’t it be easier to just accept their surrender, take their taxes, and leave them alone for the good of the future Roman Empire?

Negotiations Should Be Easy

Caesar bargains with Asterix

The Gauls have been such a pain for Caesar over the years that it would be worth not retaliating against them just to have them finally give in.

Surely, Chief Vitalstatistix can negotiate something better than what Vercingetorix got.  The Chief would be negotiating from a position of strength, so he could get a good deal.  Vercingetorix dragged out a doomed battle against Caesar in person, forced major losses on the Romans, and then finally gave in only to save face.

Asterix hasn’t killed anyone.  Embarrassed?  Sure. Knocked them out of their sandals?  Sure. Killed? No.

Final Results

Sure, Caesar might punish the Village with a decade in back taxes, because Crassus is long gone so Caesar collects money from everyone else.  Those elephants at the Triumphs don’t come cheap, you know!  Hannibal didn’t leave any behind.

It’s not like the Village doesn’t have plenty of fish in its backyard to feed everyone with while they pay off the debt.  Heck, I bet the Druid has a spell to create gold coins or something that could help speed things up.

It’ll be painful at first, but life will go on inside the Village, and no longer will the Village need to worry about four different camps of enemies surrounding them at all times.

Wouldn’t it be worth it to be brought into the future and to not live with the cloud of Caesar hovering over their heads?

What do YOU think? (First time commenters' posts may be held for moderation.)

5 Comments

  1. Careful now, that sounds heretical. After all as I’m sure the Gauls know if they surrendered who’d have written comics about them over 2000 years later. Sure appeasing Caesar would have brought short term comfort, resistance has brought immortality!

    Oh and they seem to enjoy the mischief of it all!

  2. Much as you were right about the Getafix Buss Factor, I think you’re way off base here.

    I don’t think the Gauls would care one bit about any of the benefits you mention. As long as there are plenty of boars in the forest, they’re quite happy.

    And of course, one of their favourite pastimes is beating up Romans. They wouldn’t want to give up that.

    1. I agree with Dan here. Most of the points you make are straight from an American-based mentality of capitalism. Up until WWII, France was a mostly self-sufficient rural country where people led very simple lives and were fairly happy about it. The concept that you should always strive for more possessions and be unsatisfied all your life doesn’t fly with the civilization of Lights. You can be perfectly content with what you are and what you have. At least we used to be before we got corrupted by Uncle Sam’s consumerism promoted by the Marshall plan. Good Times 🙂

      1. Heh, yes, I am a product of modern times looking back at ancient times, where the generals would kill themselves before being captured and failed politicians would flee the country. And the country’s leading politicians raised their own armies to fight on their behalf for a cut of the booty, etc. etc.

        Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History actually goes into the mindset pretty deep when it comes to the Gallic War – about asking yourself not what you’re willing to kill for, but what are you willing to die for? The warriors at Gergovia and Alesia risked it all for their people’s continued freedom. They KNEW they could just surrender and their people would carry on to one degree or another, but that wasn’t good enough.

        This article is as much about that clash of mindsets as it is a serious questioning of the sanity of the ancient Gauls. That said, I’ll play Devil’s Advocate for a good rousing argument! 😉

  3. The reason you get this impression is because the comics source in fact is Caesar’s propaganda as we learn form and Asterix and the Missing Scroll lol. No way the Romans build that infrastructure in apparently a year or anyway really fast! This series is also set in some kind of alternative universe where Asterix caused Brutus’s plan to kill Caesar to fail seemingly in Asterix and Son so maybe that is why Caesar sticks around longer than he should have had time left.

    I just found this blog and it’s fun btw.