Ave Gaul! By Toutatis

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Senior Member

The title means: Farewell Gaul! farewell(or goodbye) Toutatis?

"Uncle Potty was reading Asterix: Ave Gaul! By Toutatis!!!!.........."

Many thanks for your ideas.

It's part of Inheritance of Loss, a novel by Kiran Desai.
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This is really a question of the Latin forum!

    Ave = Hail! = to cheer, salute, or greet;
    Gaul = old name for what is now mostly France
    Toutais = a Celtic god worshipped in ancient Gaul and Britain. The protector of the Gaulish tribes.


    Senior Member
    English but my first language was German
    Ave is Hello (Vale is farewell).
    By Toutatis is an oath used frequently in the Asterix books (Toutatis was a Gaulish god). My guess, based on the number and placement of the exclamation marks, is that it's not part of the title but rather the narrator's exclamation of astonishment about Uncle Potty's reading matter.
    There's no title like "Ave Gaul!" in the over 30 Asterix books--the titles generally have the form "Asterix and the [subject of that particular book]".

    Second thought: I bet the narrator just says that the uncle was reading Asterix, and both Ave Gaul! and By Toutatis!!! are exclamations by the narrator.
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    Senior Member
    The Oxford English Dictionary defines the interjection ave as "Hail! welcome!—Farewell! adieu!" from the Latin expression which the etymology shows as having been "used as an expression of welcome or farewell."

    The only sense I can make of the sentence in question--which finishes "#@***!!" (representing censored swear words)--is that Uncle Potty was upset that he had to temporarily say "Goodbye" to his Asterix book in order to rummage around in the glove compartment. (The passage in question is available via Google Books.)

    Addition: The paragraph is punctuated oddly. It appears as

    Uncle Potty was reading Asterix: Ave Gaul! By Toutatis!!!! #@***!!”, but he roused himself and handed the little Leica through the window.
    The closing quote after the swear words seems to indicate that there should be an opening quote, in which case the author made an error in punctuation. However, it may have been that the closing quote was meant to be part of the censored words, in which case, in my opinion, the author made a poor choice of typographical symbols to represent swearing.
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