Many consider the Roman Empire one of the greatest civilizations in history. In regards to the New Testament, the story of early Christianity finds its setting under the shadow of a metanarrative (a grand self-legitimizing story)  that dominated most of the Mediterranean world and even beyond, namely the great myth that Cesar was the divine harbinger of peace and salvation for the world. Caesar Augustus is the earliest figure of the Roman Empire that the New Testament makes reference to, as he was the emperor during the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2). Born in 63 BCE,  he came to power in 31 BCE  after a period of political unrest following the murder of Julius Caesar. The Roman Republic struggled for a time in civil war when Octavian (later called Augustus) took the throne. Octavian was the adopted heir of Julius Caesar and would rule in the footsteps of his surrogate father,  who had led with near dictatorial authority. After his death, Julius Caesar was officially deified while mourners chanted, “Those whom I saved destroyed me.” 
The Atlantic Ocean did not open uniformly; rifting began in the north-central Atlantic. The South Atlantic did not open until the Cretaceous when Laurasia started to rotate clockwise and moved northward with North America to the north, and Eurasia to the south. The clockwise motion of Laurasia led much later to the closing of the Tethys Ocean and the widening of the "Sinus Borealis", which later became the Arctic Ocean . Meanwhile, on the other side of Africa and along the adjacent margins of east Africa, Antarctica and Madagascar , new rifts were forming that would lead to the formation of the southwestern Indian Ocean that would open up in the Cretaceous.