A generation of peace and prosperity

Approximately a generation of relative peace and prosperity followed. Now and again we hear of martyrdoms, some of them in Rome and Italy, several in Gaul, others in Asia Minor, and still others in the Orient. There were efforts to purge the army of Christians, although, as we shall see, many, perhaps most of the early Christians had conscientious scruples against military service and presumably not many were in the legions. In the main, however, the Christians were less molested by the state than they had been since the first half of the century. Through the Church Christianity now presented the strongest congeries of institutions in the Mediterranean world aside from the imperial government. Many were attracted to it and Christians were prominent even in the imperial household.

How many Christians there were at this time we have no way of knowing. Estimates vary from about five in a hundred to about half the population. The gain in two and a half centuries had been astounding.

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