Christianity was born along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea; its birth took place in the early decades of the Roman Empire. Those two factors must first be registered, for they constitute the background against which Christianity was to make its start and from which it took over many a feature; like any historical movement it could not possibly operate on an entirely clean slate.
The Mediterranean Sea, “mare nostrum” (our sea) as the Romans called it, presented all the appearances of a lake of arresting dimensions, providing one of the world's most natural highways on which circulation from shore to shore was relatively easy. Its lands were blessed with a friendly climate and prevailingly clear skies. Scattered around the sea lived populations of varied character and talent, most able to exploit the resources of land and sea. It can be said that geographic, climatic, and human features combined to give an impetus to some of humankind's highest cultural achievements. So in the course of centuries Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans took turns at promoting that choice commodity: civilization. The turn of the era saw Greek towns of Asia Minor experience a remarkable boom while North Africa continued to attract notice as the intellectual powerhouse of the Latin populations.