Ambrose's father held a prominent position in the administration of the Roman Empire, and so Ambrose set out in life with some advantages. He was born at Trier in Gaul in about 339. Trier was quite an important city, where Athanasius of Alexandria had chosen to spend a period of exile from 335-7. There was a strong Christian community in Ambrose's birthplace. His own family may well have been Christian; for example, Ambrose's sister Marcellina consecrated her virginity to God on the feast of Epiphany in 353. Ambrose's own baptism was delayed until 374, when he was forty years old and about to become bishop of Milan, but late adult baptism was still the norm until the end of the fourth century, and that does not in itself indicate a late conversion to the faith on his part. Certainly, it was not now a matter of shame or embarrassment to be a Christian. At the beginning of the fourth century, the Emperor Constantine had made the Empire officially Christian. There was an interruption with the reign of Julian the Apostate, but in 364 a new law restored to Christians their right to teach in schools. Christian adherence was respectable thereafter, an acceptable non-syncretist position to adopt within the multiform society of the Empire, where all other religions but Judaism were prepared to mingle their gods in the common pool.