The Mansions of the Gods

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The Mansions of the Gods
(Le Domaine des Dieux)
Date 1973
Series Asterix
Creative team
Writers Rene Goscinny
Artists Albert Uderzo
Original publication
Date of publication 1971
Language French
Chronology
Preceded by Asterix in Switzerland
Followed by Asterix and the Laurel Wreath

The Mansions of the Gods is the seventeenth volume of the Asterix comic book series, by René Goscinny (stories) and Albert Uderzo (illustrations). It was originally serialized in the magazine Pilote, issues 591-612, in 1971, and translated into English in 1973. It was the first not to use Asterix's name in the title (Obelix and Co. later became the only other).

Plot summary[edit]

With the intent to wipe out the Gaulish village by any means necessary, Caesar concocts a plan to absorb the villagers into Roman culture by having an estate built next to the village to start a new Roman colony. The colony is to be called the Mansions of the Gods.

The project is led by the architect Squaronthehypotenus, who begins by getting an army of slaves of various races and countries to pull down the trees in the forest. With the help of Getafix's magic, Asterix and Obelix sabotage the plan by planting instant-growth trees, magically enhanced by one of druid Getafix's potions, thus repairing the damage. Obsessed with getting the work done, an increasingly erratic Squaronthehypotenus threatens to work the slaves to death. Taking this remark literally, Asterix gives them magic potion with which to fight back.

Although the slaves, led by a Numidian called Flaturtha, do rise up in rebellion, they do not stop work and leave, as Asterix intended. Instead they insist on better working conditions, regular pay and being freed with the consent of their masters after completing the first building of the Mansions of the Gods (the negotiations seem similar to that of modern-day employers and trade unionists). Upon hearing that the slaves are getting better pay than they are, the Roman legionaries also go on strike demanding similar and better conditions for themselves (a common occurrence among French strikers). Since the freedom of the slaves depends on constructing at least one building, the Gauls allow the work to proceed after Flaturtha complains and Getafix says they should let the slaves proceed. After their release the slaves "float a company" with their wages and become the (almost) luckless pirates of other adventures.

Finally, the first building of the Mansions of the Gods is built and inhabited by Roman families. One couple is forced to go, after the husband wins an apartment in a competition at the arena under coercion of getting eaten by lions if he refuses. These Romans then go shopping at the village which, before too long, turns into a market town with the inhabitants opening a variety of shops, antique and fish, to cater to the Romans. In addition, they start to engage in price wars, literally since there is an actual fist-fight over the issue. The villagers are in disunion and some are adapting to Roman ways, which was Caesar's intention.

Bashing Roman soldiers is one thing, but Getafix insists that civilians are not to be attacked since they are in fact innocent pawns in Caesar's scheme. Thus Asterix comes up with an alternative plan to get the Romans to leave. He asks Squaronthehypotenus for an apartment, but is told they are full up. Then the unlucky Roman couple mentioned earlier is continuously harassed by Obelix, who is acting like a rabid monster, with Asterix holding him back. This is enough for the terrified husband, and the next day the couple leaves and returns to Rome. No sooner have they gone that Asterix arranges for Cacofonix the bard to move into the vacated apartment. As a result of the bard's night-time practising, the rest of the Roman inhabitants are quick to return to Rome as well. Squaronthehypotenus tries to keep the place in business by bringing the local Roman soldiers in as tenants, and naturally expels Cacofonix from the building. The Gauls take this as an insult to their pride and bring the building down to the ground.

The Mansions of the Gods are no more, and Squaronthehypotenus goes to Egypt to build pyramids in the desert. That evening the Gauls hold their usual celebratory banquet (in which Cacofonix takes part) and the ruins of the mansion ending up as picturesque parts of the woodland due to Getafix's treated seeds.

Commentary[edit]

The book represents a particularly potent satire of 1970s France. Following the explosive riots of May 1968, Goscinny took Asterix in a direction with increasing content referring to current political events in France. This album represents both his criticism of technocracy (the young urban planner), the gigantic "villes nouvelles" (new cities) of high-rises which were being created around Paris and especially advertising — the promotion of the Mansions of the Gods which reads like a parody of soon-to-be erected golden real estate investment opportunity.

The quizmaster in the Circus Maximus who coerces the reluctant winner to accept his prize is a caricature of the French television entertainer Guy Lux.

Adaptations[edit]

The Mansions of the Gods will be adapted as a computer-animated feature film titled Asterix: The Land of The Gods. Produced in France by M6 Studio and Mikros Images it will be the first Asterix animated film in 3D,[1] and will be released in France on November 26, 2014.[2]

In other languages[edit]

  • Catalan: La residència dels déus
  • Croatian: Zgrade za bogove (Mansions for the Gods)
  • Czech: Sídliště bohů
  • Dutch: Het Romeinse lusthof
  • Finnish: Jumaltenrannan nousu ja tuho (The Rise and Fall of Gods' Shore)
  • German: Die Trabantenstadt (The satellite town)
  • Greek: Η κατοικία των θεών
  • Hebrew: אחוזת האלים
  • Indonesian: Negeri Dewa-dewa
  • Italian: Asterix e il Regno degli Dei
  • Norwegian: Byplanleggeren (The town planner)
  • Polish: Osiedle bogów
  • Portuguese: O domínio dos deuses
  • Spanish: La residencia de los dioses
  • Swedish: Gudarnas hemvist
  • Turkish: Tanrılar Sitesi
  • Welsh: Rhandir y duwiau
  • Danish: I Gudernes Land

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hopewell, John (October 21, 2010). "M6, SND prep 3D 'Asterix'". Variety. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  2. ^ Mister3ZE (October 16, 2013). "QUELQUES INFOS POUR " ASTÉRIX : LE DOMAINE DES DIEUX " DE LOUIS CLICHY ET ALEXANDRE ASTIER.". Focus on Animation. Retrieved October 16, 2013.