The Romans may not have defeated Asterix, but his creator, Albert Uderzo, stands accused of surrendering to the indomitable Gaul's worst enemies: businessmen and financiers.
Writing in Le Monde yesterday, his daughter Sylvie suggests the 81-year-old illustrator has been pushed into denying "all the values" she was brought up with: "independence, fraternity, conviviality and resistance".
"This first victory of the invader over the indomitable Gauls is the only scenario no-one has ever dared to imagine," she continues. "It's as if characters Detritus or some other Accidentrix had come to the village, seen the chief, Albert, my father, and conquered him … As if they had managed to open the gates of the village to the empire!"
Uderzo, who created Asterix with the late Rene Goscinny in 1959, sold his stake in the company which publishes Asterix to Hachette last December, giving them a controlling stake of 60% in the company. The remaining 40% is owned by Sylvie.
The company announced last week that Uderzo had given authorisation for the bestselling series to continue after his death.
Anne Goscinny, who has also agreed for the series to continue, confirmed Uderzo had been reluctant at first to give his assent, but that she had been in favour of Asterix, who had survived the death of her own father in 1977, continuing.
But there is more at stake than the questions of artistic integrity and national cultural heritage that Sylvie raises.
More than 325m copies of Asterix have been sold around the world since the beginning of the series, with film rights, merchandising and a theme park north of Paris contributing to a business worth millions of euros every year. Each new album sells around 3m copies with a new album due to be published this year, marking the characters' 50th anniversary.
Uderzo, who rarely speaks in public, could not be reached for comment.
Copyright Speakers Corner 2017