The traumatic experiences inflicted by Asterix the Gaul
Maybe, like me, you enjoyed reading the comic book stories of Asterix the Gaul, by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. It is just possible that neither you nor I read the stories as being factual historical accounts. And if that was so, we might not have concerned ourselves unduly with the physical consequences of all the fighting, facilitated as it was on occasion by magic potions.
But then again, maybe that was a wholly irresponsible way of engaging with the Asterix adventures. At any rate, a group of German academics from Düsseldorf have spent some time analysing the oeuvre, and they have come up with a significant finding: the Asterix adventures as recorded contain 704 cases of violently inflicted head injury – mostly committed by the eponymous hero and his associates. Of these cases, 390 involved ‘severe trauma’, from the physical symptoms that were visible.
The Guardian‘s careful report of all this focuses ultimately on an important health and safety element: the tendency of the Roman victims to be careless about wearing or keeping on their helmets, as this made the trauma worse.
What do I conclude, myself? Well, it seems to me that the Heinrich Heine Universität in Düsseldorf is the place to be. If you feel that the Roman victims of Asterix need more advice. Or maybe if you just like reading Asterix.