jealousy and crime - are the theme of this legend that originated
2000 years ago on the island of Briuni and lives to this very
day. This indelible tale is a part of the secretive history
of Pula's archipelago (Insulae Pullariae) dating around the
1st century of our era.
Once upon a time, said the legend, in his luxurious castle
in the bay of Valkatena on Big Briuni, lived a rich man named
Aulus, owner of a factory producing bricks, amphorae and oil
containers. He was already in his green old age when amongst
his female slaves he chose the most beautiful one, named Lydia
- to be his wife. Lydia was only twenty. Her heart, desiring
love, did not care much that she used to be a slave and now
became matron. Moreover, she suffered a lot because she had
to give her body to an old man. This old patrician could give
her anything but love.
And so Lydia found love herself...
His name was Gaius and he was the brave, young son of another
of Briuni's patrician who was a friend of Aulus. Gaius, always
winning the four-in-hand races in Pula's arena, returned Lydia's
love with all his heart.
Their meetings of love became more frequent, their passion
grew and their caution diminished.
Due to all that, and also thanks to the slave supervisor and
spy Rufus, Aulus discovered their affair and prepared a terrible
One day, after Gaius won the race again, and in honour of
his victory in the amphitheatre, Aulus gave a party. During
the lunch, the old patrician expressed his wish to show Gaius
enormous treasure that he is keeping in the shelter near the
bathroom, in the castle's underground. Without foreshadowing
evil, Gaius went with Aulus and Rufus into the subterranean
rooms. Aulus opened the heavy iron doors in one alcove amongst
the underground vaults and they entered the dark hall of the
tepidarium... Suddenly the torch went off, Aulus and Rufus
exited the hall quickly, closing the door behind them.
Then they walled in the door...
Gaius never came out. Lydia heard of him no more....
However, this unfortunate youth has never been forgotten.
The lovers from Briuni lived on in legend. Was this legend
just the folks' imagination, getting enriched during those
20 centuries? It is known that there was a human skull in
a tower in midst of Briuni until the end of WWII, when it
disappeared. This skull was discovered by an archaeologist
somewhere around 1913 when the islands' owner was Paul Kupelwieser.
In the subterranean hall of the tepidarium of a Roman villa
in Verige Bay, an archaeologist discovered walled in doors,
and behind them a skeleton in a squat position. His underarm
bone held a golden chain with a plate that had the engraved
name of Gaius Lucanius Bassus....