Manichaeism is an Iranian Gnostic religion that was founded by the prophet Mani in the third century CE. Manichaeism was at its greatest prevalence from the third through the sixth centuries, although it remained active through at least the ninth century and at its peak was one of the most popular and influential religions in the ancient world. Although it began in the Persian Empire (modern Iran), the religion quickly spread from the Roman Empire all the way to China through the Silk Road trade route. Manichaeism was seen as a serious threat to Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism, and it was deliberately targeted by these religious traditions, its followers persecuted and its sacred texts destroyed. It was not until the beginning of the 20th ...

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