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Cumeoberg was an Avarian fortress, or an old name for a mountain, or a mountain-top fortress, and the site of a nonbattle in Charlemagne’s 791 war against the Avars. And it is a setting for a scene in my work still in progress, Queen of the Darkest Hour.

The problem: I have multiple options for where it might have been. I know it was somewhere near the Austrian city now named Tulln, called Comagena in Roman times, and in today’s Wienerwald, a huge forested area near Vienna.

So, was in on a rise just south of Tulln? Was it on a mountain near today’s Königstetten? Or does it overlook today’s Klosterneuburg?

I’ve flipped though books without arriving at any certain answer. The reason for all this labor is that even after nine years away from my days at a daily newspaper, I still live in dread of The Call.

If the caller was polite, they would start with, “Thank you for the nice article.” And on the other end, I would be waiting for the But, as in “but you spelled my name wrong.” Callers who were less than polite would start with, “Don’t you people have proofreaders?”

Odd to think that in fiction—where we confess from the get-go that we’re making things up—that we novelists want to be accurate. But that’s why we often get caught in research rabbit holes, even for one scene.

For now, my best guess is that Cumeoberg was on a mountain near Königstetten, but dear reader, if you’ve heard otherwise, let me know in the comments or by email at kim [at] kimrendfeld [dot] com.

Sources (somewhat contradictory)

Charlemagne: Translated Sources, P.D. King

A History of Charles the Great (Charlemagne) by Jacob Isidor Mombert

The History of France: From the earliest period to the present time by Thomas Wright

Charlemagne and the Avars

Albrecht Altdorfer’s 1518 The Victory of Charlemagne over the Avars near Regensburg (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

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