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René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s Asterix novels present us with a charmingly silly world. Their shared premise is that, during the time of the Roman Empire, a tiny Gaulish village has a magic potion that makes its inhabitants extremely strong and fast, and this allows the village to keep the entire Roman Empire at a hopeless disadvantage. The main character is a wily little warrior named Asterix who, with his good, very large, and not very bright friend Obelix, has many absurd adventures as he travels in the Roman world and beyond. I shall explore Asterix at the Olympic Games, in which Asterix and a group of the villagers compete in the Olympic Games in ancient Greece. I shall try to show that the charmingly silly, unpretentious humor of Asterix at the Olympic Games does not just offer us escapist entertainment, but also embodies and so offers us a deep appreciation of the ordinary and everyday. (I should say that I have no objection to purely escapist entertainment; I just think that more is going on in this particular case.)


This is a chapter in the edited volume Graphic Novels as Philosophy, editor Jeff McLaughlin. The copy of record is available from the publisher at Copyright © 2017 University Press of Mississippi. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.