If you can’t write, do more research

Hello, Alpheans!

I’m still moving at glacial speed on Chapter 4, but I’m starting to implement a pattern which I think will bear fruit. I’m writing whenever I can, and when I get stuck I dive into research. Eventually, something in the research will trigger something and give me something more to write about. This time, I am looking at some details in the story which I have so far filled in with ‘generic’ placeholders, mainly these are personal names and the names of cities and towns. I have replaced some of the personal names with Hungarian names. Charles and Belinda Goodman are now Charles and Eva Rózsa, for instance (that change is in the ‘official’ draft but not fully implemented on this site). But I think I’m at a point now where I should be focusing with a bit more precision in the setting and determining where, exactly, in the medieval Kingdom of Hungary (much of which is now modern-day Romania) this story will be occurring.

Some things are relatively decided. I very much want to keep Kolozsvár, but for no other reason than that I have developed an attachment to having the name of the city in the story. I know that’s a pretty weak reason, but there it is. Torda I can take or leave and am more inclined to let it go than keep it. I started with the understanding that it was situated in the foothills of the Eastern Carpathians but I have since learned that it is actually on the Transylvanian Plateau and near the Apuseni mountain group, but nowhere near the Eastern Carpathian range.

But more important than which mountains it may be in or near is the fact that Torda has relatively flat terrain and that just won’t do. For the first setting I need a small town (or large village). It should be small in population but of enough geographical importance to have some sort of castle or fortress associated with it (and a castle would be better). There should be both a forest and a river not too distant, and it should not be very far from the Kolozsvár to Felvinc road (in modern times, this is Route 1 which runs from modern-day Cluj [Kolozsvár] through modern-day Turda [Torda] and south to modern-day Unirea [Felvinc]).

So, I need to take a close look at the topography around Kolozsvár. What I am looking for is a large village or a small town, preferably to the south or west of Kolozsvár, that is in the foothills of the Apuseni mountains; with a nearby forest and a river between the castle and a nearby road, and about a day’s ride by horse from Kolozsvár. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Then, I need to find another couple of towns (or villages) about another day’s ride from that town to be the location for Dmitri and Anya Corvin’s cottage, and another nearby village to be the home of Charles and Eva Rózsa. Then, I need to make a final decision on the city where the fictional Church of the Holy Trinity will be located where the convent of nuns operates the children’s orphanage. Unfortunately, the city of Szeged is too distant to be a practical choice.

So, that’s a lot of work to be done, and I’m hoping that in the midst of all of that, my creative juices will start flowing again.

Oh, one last thing… In my research today I discovered that during Roman times this entire region was called Dacia. In Dacia, there was a Roman Legion called Legio quinta Macedonica (Fifth Macedonian Legion) and their history is somewhat interesting. It seems that they were based in the medieval village of Torda during the first century A.D. and were sent to the Roman province of Iudea (Judea) during the Jewish Revolt in 66 A.D. After suppressing the revolt, this Roman legion returned to Dacia and subsequently were involved in the military defense of the province against ‘barbarian’ tribes.

Now, not all of that is interesting, but what I do find interesting is that the Roman legion based in this province was sent to Judea for the purpose of putting down the Jewish Revolt that occurred 33 years following the Crucifixion of Christ. Might this legion be the very one that sacked Jerusalem? Might this legion have even plundered the Temple of Solomon? If so, did all of those Hebrew treasures make it back to Rome, or might some of them have been kept in Dacia, in the Roman provincial capital of Napoca (the medieval city of Kolozsvár)?

Just stuff that I tend to think about…


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