The religion founded in the third century by the Persian Mani. A central doctrine was the conflict between two opposing forces, Good (Light) and Evil (Darkness). The material world was considered evil, and Manichaeans were urged to practice asceticism (q.v.). Though sharing the same basic worldview, adherents of Zoroastrianism, the state religion of the Sassanians (qq.v.), persecuted Manichaeanism. Augustine (q.v.) was a follower of Manicheanism for a while; in his time, it was a major world religion.

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