LOVERS FROM THE
BRIUNI ISLANDS


Love, 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 revenge.
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....