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300px|Figure 1. While empires often did not start universal religions, they often did become the vehicle in which they spread. For example, Christianity greatly expanded as part of the official reiligion of Rome.]]
Universal religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Islam, and others mostly rose between 500 BCE and 600 CE. Over this 1000 year period, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of East Asia transformed from polytheistic worshiping to believing in a single god or universal philosophy. We often think of Christianity and Islam perhaps as the dominant universal religions today, but universal philosophies had begun before these religions and through the vehicle of empires universal religions spread.