The Nursery

A self-hosted digital garden for... the new milennium?

I think writefreely – nice as it is – might be too limited for a digital garden with many subject and large bodies of interconnected work. I'm missing a navigation for one...

Some possible alternatives for a more structured digital garden are:

Ideally I'd like to just use a static website generator and markdown, in some form or another. I would probably like to avoid having to use Apache to serve it – but I need to look into what my options are, I guess.

I'll keep this writefreely instance, though – but I'll use it more as a regular blog. Time will tell if it'll live or die.


This coin is an antoninianus struck in Rome in 245 CE. It weighs 4.82g and measures 23.3mm.

Obverse: IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, cuirassed bust of Philip I right

Reverse: ADVENTVS AVGG, emperor on horseback left, holding spear

Reference: Sear 8916

I bought this coin from Steve Santore when I was still on Facebook.

This digital garden is – at least for now – created using a self-hosted instance of writefreely.

  • I like it because it's minimalist
  • I like it because it's FOSS
  • I like it because you write using markdown
  • I like it because it's federated

What I don't know is whether or not it's too simple. I want to eventually be able to group my notes together, so that there is at least some sort of non-bloglike structure to the garden. I also tend to create large interconnected bodies of writing, and I am not sure it's going to be easy to navigate them using the standard theme.

Here are some possible avenues to I am planning to look into:

  • Maybe I can do some simple css-tweaks? I'll check out some of the themes and the tool
  • Maybe tags will work as an acceptable navigation? Right now they don't work for me at all
  • Maybe I can set up several blogs – divided by subject – but with a single landing page

Since I self-host I have a little more options than most people, I guess. I could also look into other software, but writefreely is just so nice to use as a writer that I am reluctant to use something more complicated.

Marcus Iulius Philippus Augustus – also commonly known by his nickname Philip the Arab – was Roman emperor from 244 CE to 249 CE. He was born in 204 CE in what is now Syria, as the son of a local citizen called Julius Marinus.


Philip had a brother, Gaius Julius Priscus, who was of equestrian rank and was a member of the Praetorian Guard during the reign of Gordian III. He helped Philip out, it is assumed, and Philip also joined the guard.

In 243 CE, Gordian III was campaigning against the Persians. His father in law, Timesitheus, died under unclear circumstances during the campaign, and at the suggestion of Priscus, Philip was made the new Praetorian prefect, commander of the body guard.

In February 244, Gordian III was killed in battle against the Persians, and Philip assumed the throne with the help of his brother. At this point in time they had been the de-facto regents for young Gordian III for several years and it seemed like a logical choice. He quickly struck a peace deal and proclaimed himself Persicus Maximus, although it was an expensive peace indeed costing 500.000 denarii.

Philip was determined not to repeat the mistakes of his predecessors and put a great deal of effort into gaining the support of the Senate and the Roman people. He also started many building projects and paid off the army. All in all he was soon desperately short of money and had to increase taxes, and stopped paying tribute to the tribes north of the Danube. A few years later the tribes invaded, and although Philip and his generals pushed them back, tax rebellions broke out in Egypt and elsewhere. Philip offered to resign, but the Senate strongly supported him, especially a powerful senator called Gaius Messius Quintus Decius, who was soon dispatched to defeat the barbarians.

He was very successful, and the more and more discontent Legions decided to proclaim him emperor. He refused, but was told in no uncertain terms that it would mean death to refuse. He reluctantly accepted, and tried to strike a deal with Philip to allow him to resign, but Philip's troops would have none of it. There was a battle, and Philip was defeated and killed, either in battle or by his own troops.

One reluctant emperor replaced by another, such was the way of the 3rd century.

My coins

I have a lot of coins struck under Philip I, for no particular reason. I guess it's be because they are readily available in good grades without costing a fortune and have interesting reverses.

In addition, the Ludi Saeculares took place during his reign, a festival which took place every 100 years or so, and at this particular point in time coincided with the thousandth anniversary of the founding of Rome. Many commemorative coins celebrating this were struck, some of which are in my collection.

# Reference Obverse Reverse Notes
1 Sear 8916 Adventvs Avgg Link
2 Sear 8918 Aeqvitas Avgg
3 Sear 8918 Aeqvitas Avgg Link
4 Sear 8921 Aeternitas Avgg
5 Sear 8922 Annona Avgg
6 Sear 8933 Fortuna Redux
7 Sear 8935 Laetit Fvndat
8 Sear 8937 Liberalitas Avg II
9 Sear 8938 Nobilitas Avgg
10 Sear 8943 PM TRP II COS PP
11 Sear 8944 PM TRP III COS PP
12 Sear 8944 PM TRP III COS PP
13 Sear 8946 PM TRP IIII COS II PP
14 Sear 8946 PM TRP IIII COS II PP
15 Sear 8950 PM TRP VI COS PP
16 Sear 8952 Romae Aeternae
17 Sear 8952 Romae Aeternae
18 Sear 8956 Saecvlares Avgg Lion
19 Sear 8958 Saecvlares Avgg Stag
20 RIC 20 Saecvlares Avgg Stag left
21 Sear 8961 Saecvlares Avgg Cippus COS III
22 Sear 8963 Saecvlvm Novvm
23 Sear 8963 Saecvlvm Novvm
24 Sear 8966 Secvurit Orbis
25 Sear 8966 Secvurit Orbis
26 Sear 8967 Spes Felicitas Orbis
27 Sear 8969 Victoria Avg
28 Sear 8972 Victoria Avgg
29 Sear 8972 Victoria Avgg
30 Sear 8975 Virtus Avg
31 Sear 8976 Virtus Avgg

I also have a few coins of his dependents:

Otacilia Severa – his wife

# Reference Obverse Reverse Notes
1 Sear 9147 Concordia Avg

Philip II – his son and co-emperor from july/august 247-249

# Reference Obverse Reverse Notes
1 Sear 9240 Principi Ivvent
2 Sear 9240 Principi Ivvent

The Severan dynasty was a Roman imperial dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 193 and 235 CE. The dynasty was founded by the Roman general Septimius Severus, who rose to power as the victor of the 193-197 civil war.


Septimius Severus was from Libya – not only by birth but also by ethnicity – and after the death of his first wife he married Julia Domna, a woman from an important Arab Syrian family. They would prove to be a formidable couple, and after a civil war following the murder of Commodus ascended to the throne.

Although largely a peaceful time, the Severan Period was plagued by constant political turmoil and warfare – foreshadowing the imminent total collapse which followed the murder of Alexander Severus in 235 AD, and which we know as the Crisis of the 3rd Century.

One of the characteristic phenomena of this period of Roman history was the very active role played by the empresses and other female family members. This is also reflected in an abundance of coins struck in their name.

The Severans emperors were:

  • Septimius Severus (193-211)
  • Caracalla (198-217)
  • Geta (209-211)
  • Elagabalus (218-222)
  • Severus Alexander (222-235)

In between Geta and Elagabalus, a single non-Severan emperor ruled for a year, the lawyer and bureaucrat Macrinus with his son Diadumenian as Caesar.

My coins

I have some coins from the Severan dynasty – although not many from each person.

Septimius Severus

# Reference Obverse Reverse Notes
1 Sear 6319 Paci Aeternae
2 Sear 6354 Provid Avgg

Julia Domna – wife of Septimius Severus

# Reference Obverse Reverse Notes
1 Sear 6584 Fortvnae Felici
2 Sear 6601 Pietas Pvblica


# Reference Obverse Reverse Notes
1 RIC 194 PM TRP XV COSIII PP cf. S6829
2 Sear 6895 Vict Part Max

Plautilla – unfortunate wife of Caracalla

# Reference Obverse Reverse Notes
1 Sear 7074 Venus Victrix


# Reference Obverse Reverse Notes
1 Sear 7174 Felicitas Tempor


# Reference Obverse Reverse Notes
2 Sear 7520 Laetitia Publ Fake

Julia Maesa – grandmother of Elagabalus & Severus Alexander

# Reference Obverse Reverse Notes
1 Sear 7757 Saeculi Felicitas RIC 272

Julia Mamaea – mother of Severus Alexander

# Reference Obverse Reverse Notes
1 Sear 8212 Ivno Conservatrix

I think I've found a decent candidate for replacing (or supplementing) this #writefreely blog with something where I can more easily build and maintain larger interconnected bodies of work.

It's called TypeMill.

The main attraction for me is:

  • There's a web-interface so I don't have to do local development and deploy
  • It's markdown-based
  • Since it's a full CMS-system, I don't have to manually move images to my server and then include them in the markup, I can use the built-in asset manager
  • There are some basic themes available out of the box to start with

The only thing that worries me slightly is that it requires..

A webserver (Apache)

...and I'd really prefer to stay on #nginx. There's a basic config file example, but it's not updated for the most recent versions of #typemill so I don't know if it'll work.

Still, worth a shot.

I've been struggling a bit with getting my #jellyfin instance to recognize an external harddrive, I kept getting a The path could not be found. Please ensure the path is valid and try again.-error.

Turns out it was two things:

  1. Jellyfin doesn't like it when a drive is mounted to /media/my_usr/drivename, so I added an entry to my fstab-file to auto-mount to my /srv/-directory which is where I put most of my stuff anyway.

  2. Once the drive was mounted, I hadn't given 'read'-permission to the 'other' role on my system, only to my own user. Jellyfin doesn't connect as you, obviously, so it can't see the files unless given explicit permission.

Anyway, this is all quite new to me, but I am enjoying myself and warming up to the point where I make the switch from windows to #linux some time in the coming year.