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Caerleon

From Academic Kids

Caerleon is a village situated on the river Usk on the northern outskirts of Newport. It also forms an electoral district (ward) of the city. Caerleon is a site of considerable archaeological importance, being the site of a Roman legionary fortress (it was the headquarters for Legio II Augusta from about 75 to 300 AD) and a Celtic hill fort.

The name Caerleon is commonly thought to be from the Welsh for "fortress of the legion"; the Romans themselves called it Isca Silurum, "Usk of the Silures", after the Silures, the Celtic tribe that dwelt there.

Substantial excavated Roman remains can be seen, including the military amphitheatre, one of the most impressive in Britain, and the bath house, with a modern museum in situ above it. Both sites are administered by Cadw. There is a separate museum, part of the National Museums and Galleries of Wales complex, which exhibits finds from excavations throughout the village.

Caerleon is one of the sites most often connected with King Arthur's Camelot. There was no Camelot mentioned in the early Arthurian traditions recorded by Geoffrey of Monmouth, Wace, and Layamon. These early Arthurian authors say that Arthur's capital was in Caerleon, and even the later recaster of Arthurian material, Sir Thomas Malory, has Arthur recrowned at "Carlion" (Caerleon). It has been suggested that the still-visible Roman amphitheatre at Carleon is the source of the 'Round-Table' element of the tales, and was used for discussion and entertainment. (The "Camelot" reference originates with the French writer of courtly romance, Chretien de Troyes.)

Geoffrey of Monmouth writes of Caerleon in the mid 12th century:

For it was located in a delightful spot in Glamorgan, on the River Usk, not far from the Severn Sea. Abounding in wealth more than other cities, it was suited for such a ceremony. For the noble river I have named flows along it on one side, upon which the kings and princes who would be coming from overseas could be carried by ship. But on the other side, protected by meadow and woods, it was remarkable for royal palaces, so that it imitated Rome in the golden roofs of its buildings... Famous for so many pleasant features, Caerleon was made ready for the announced feast.
Historia Regum Britanniae "History of the Kings of Britain"

The ward is bounded by the river Usk to the southwest, the A4042 to the west, the A449 to the east and Malthouse Road to the north.

External links

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