Thursday, 23. May 2013 - 05:05
12. 11. 12. - 12:00
Croatian historians believe they have found a Roman villa that belonged to King Arthur, leader of the Knights of the Round Table and Camelot and bearer of the sword Excalibur.
Archaeologists found the villa site close to the southern coastal village of Krilo Jesenice.
It is also close to Podstrana where British historian John Matthews claimed there is a gravestone which he says marks the final resting place of Arthur, also known at the time as Lucius Artorius Castus.
The possibility that Lucius Artorius Castus was Arthur was first suggested by historian Kemp Malone in 1924 and was then repeated by historian Linda Malcor, who was a consultant for the 2004 movie King Arthur that also portrayed Arthur as a Roman.
Although Artorius did not live during the Saxon invasions of Britain in the 5th century, it is seen as possible because of the similarities in their lives that he was remembered in local tales and legends that grew in the retelling.
Niksa Tomic of the Artorius association that is carrying out the dig said: "We have confirmed the villa dates from the 1st century and it matches what we know of Lucius Artorius Castus."
Matthews - also a consultant on Clive Owen and Keira Knightley's hit movie King Arthur - also believes the legendary king was really the Roman general Lucius Artorius Castus, who later ruled over part of modern Croatia.
"My only worry is that if we prove this to be true, people in England will accuse me of stealing their legend from them," Matthews once said.
The place where the remains of the 1st century villa were found is located 150 metres above the see level with extensive views that would have made it hard for a surprise attack.
It is believed the position was chosen by the Roman commander to control the sea lanes and the nearby islands. There have also been pieces of ancient Roman ceramics found at the site.
Tomic said: "There are a lot of indicators that we have found the villa was build of King Arthur, including the size that meant it could only have belonged to someone of his importance, and the age."
The mayor of the nearby town of Dugi Rat is visit the site on Wednesday to help experts protect it as a cultural monument as soon as possible.
Local legend has it that Arthur's mother was born in the Croatian town of Igrane, now a popular tourist beach destination, and tourism bosses are keen to cash in on the link.
A Night of King Arthur has been held to celebrate the event in Igrane and more than 3,000 revellers were said to have turned up honour the king's mother.
It is said she used to bathe in the sea in the town and Igrane is already said to be benefiting from tourists who have heard the tale and want to visit the area.
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