Asterix and Brain Injuries

Rather peripheral, but perhaps of interest to readers of rogueclassicism … some academics have actually written (and have had published) a paper analyzing 700+ brain injuries in the Asterix comic series … here’s a bit from the middle of the Telegraph coverage:

 [...] The main characters “thump” Romans, pirates and Goths but a “detailed analysis had not been performed hitherto” of the injuries they suffered.

By “screening” all 34 books, the authors found 704 cases of head or brain injury, all but six suffered by men.

The victims were mostly Romans (450) but also included 120 Gauls, 59 bandits or pirates, 20 Goths, eight Vikings and five Britons. In 402 cases the perpetrators of the violence were Asterix and/or Obelix themselves.

In 696 cases “blunt force” was used but eight people were strangled and six suffered a fall.

More victims (390) suffered severe trauma than moderate (89) or mild (225), with the researchers using the standard Glasgow coma scale to assess the seriousness of their wounds.

About half (390) lost consciousness after being attacked and 188 were drawn with hypoglossal paresis – “an outstretched or sideward pointing tongue”. Half also had periorbital ecchymoses or “raccoon eyes” and some had “sporadic amnesia”.

The druid Getafix took the longest time to recover after “a case of massive force” in the form of a large stone known as a menhir falling on his head.

However the paper notes: “No case of death or a permanent neurological deficit following traumatic brain injury has been found.” [...]

If you’ve got a spare thirty-five bucks gathering lint in your pocket, you can download the paper itself at: Traumatic brain injuries in illustrated literature: experience from a series of over 700 head injuries in the Asterix comic books

UPDATE (a few minutes later): shaking my head but not surprised by the Toronto Star’s opening paragraph (compounded by the headline):

A study by German researchers has concluded what many Asterix fans have long suspected: Traumatic brain injuries were rampant among Roman soldiers stationed in northwestern Gaul around 50 B.C.

… I’ve long suspected the Star had a serious disconnect from reality …

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem xvi kalendas quinctilias

Otto Jahn Otto Jahn. Stich von August Weger na...

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ante diem xvi kalendas quinctilias

  • 212 A.D. — martyrdom of Ferreolus and Ferrutio
  • 1716 — Alexander Pope’s translation of the Iliad is published
  • 1813 — birth of Otto Jahn (archaeologist and philologist)
  • 1937 — birth of Erich Segal (Classicist, known to Classicists for his work on ancient comedy; known to the rest of the world as the author of Love Story)

Happy Bloomsday