Time for a new Asterix review. Today we take a look at Asterix the Legionary. In this installment, our heroes sign up for service in the Roman army in an attempt to save a beautiful Gaulish girl’s fiancé. Panacea, the daughter of one of the villagers, has returned from Condatum (ancient Rennes) to visit her family. Obelix develops a heady crush on her but when he learns that she is betrothed because she in turn learns that her beau has been conscripted to the Roman legion, Obelix is crushed. Nonetheless, in spite of his disappointment, Obelix swears to return her man safely and soundly. This act of gallantry may seem odd given that she has given herself to another man, but there is precedence for this sort of behavior.
In the Middle Ages, a common knightly practice was the execution of a quest on behalf of or in the name of a lady. If the lady was married or betrothed, the act of sullying forth to commit some heroic action would have been an accepted event given that the knights-errant, as they were called, were acting on a conceptual rather than actual play of love. Still, we imagine that the gallant fealty would cause at the least discomfort for the lady’s husband. We have to wonder how many knights ended up in some ditch with his acorns missing.
Speaking of weird medieval customs, here’s a silly one. The unusual ritual of bundling was a practice which allowed a man to bed his betrothed woman by lying next to her but being separated by a barrier of sorts such as a rolled blanket or wooden board. The idea was that this would afford some pre-marital intimacy minus the verboten sex act. Seems like a horrible way of creating unnecessary sexual frustration. Unless there were nuns in the room, we suspect that a lot of bundling ended up in bumping.
Which leads to another bizarre practice from the Dark Ages. If leaving his home for a period of time, a husband might make his lady wear a chastity belt. Chastity belts are inhumane devices created to keep wives from wandering into lustful territory while their husbands were away killing Moors and getting syphilis from their own untoward escapades. The devices were cruel objects made of iron that fit around the woman’s pelvis and could only be removed by unlocking them (or disassembling them if one was resourceful). These belts were most likely extremely uncomfortable and undoubtedly unhygienic since a woman had no easy way to evacuate her bladder or colon. Some of the more sinister versions had inward pointing prongs that ensured anything entering the hole that was directed towards the woman’s nether regions would be impossible to extract without damaging the member. Ew. And ouch.
So what does this have to do with Asterix the Legionary? Nothing.
… or take me to a list of other Asterix reviews.
… or how about the cover gallery?