The spread of Christianity down to 180 A.D.

This map of the Mediterranean Sea was drawn by the German theologian Adolf Harnack (1851-1930) in The Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries. It represents the spread of Christianity down to 180 A.D.. The legend of the map reads:

  1. Only those towns are marked on the map in which it can be proved that Christian communities existed prior to 180 A.D..
  2. Places where Christian communities are demonstrable or certain prior to Trajan are underlined.
  3. Places which are not quite certain as towns with a Christian community prior to 180 A.D. are put within brackets.
  4. The shading indicates that while Christians certainly existed in the district in question, the names of the cities where they stayed have not been preserved. Except in the case of Egypt, the shading is omitted whenever even one town in the province in question can be shown to have had a Christian church.
  5. The principal Roman roads are marked by double lines.

The map shows the borders of the Roman empire, which consisted of

  • Britain south of Hadrian's Wall,
  • the areas that are now know as the Netherlands and parts of Germany and Switzerland near the Rhine,
  • Belgium (roughly corresponding to Belgica),
  • France (roughly corresponding to Gallia),
  • Spain and Portugal (Hispania),
  • Italy, Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily,
  • all areas south of the Danube (corresponding to most of Bavaria in Germany, most of Austria, the Western half of Hungary, the former Yugoslavia, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Greece),
  • the islands in the Aegean Sea, Crete and Cyprus,
  • most of Romania,
  • most of Turkey with the exception of Armenia,
  • most of Syria,
  • Lebanon, Israel, the Western fringe of Jordan,
  • the Sinai and Egypt,
  • in North Africa: the Northern part of Libya, Tunisia, the Northern part of Algeria and the Northern part of Morocco.

Places where Christian communities are demonstrable or certain prior to Trajan include Rome, Pozzuoli (to the West of Naples in Italy), Corinth in Greece, Pafos and Salamis on Cyprus, Jerusalem and Samaria (in Israel) and Alexandria (in Egypt).

In France, there were Christian communities in Lyon (Lugdunum) and Vienne (Vienna). In Italy and Sicily, Naples and Syracuse also had Christian communities after Trajan. Greece had Christian communities in Nicopolis (on the coast of the Adriatic Sea), Lacedaemon (Sparta); Macedonia had communites in Thessalonica and Philippi. Many places on or near the coast of the Aegean Sea (Troy, Pergamon, Ephesus) and many places in the south-west of Turkey also had Christian communities. On or near the coast of the Black Sea, there were Christian communities in modern Bulgaria (Anchialus and Debellum), Byzantium, and in northern Turkey (Nicomedia, Sinope). There were also communities in Antioch, in Israel and Palestine (Sidon, Tyre, Caesarea, Damascus), on Crete and in the northern areas of Tunisia and Algeria.

Places which are not quite certain as towns with a Christian community prior to 180 A.D. include a few places in modern Tunisia and Algeria and a place on the island Kefallinia in the Ionian Sea.