Mani (or Manes)

MANI (or MANES) mā’ nī (mā’ nez) (Μάνης). The founder of Manicheism. Born of Parthian princely blood in 216, prob. in Babylonia, he was under Mandaean influence as a child. His first revelation at the age of twelve was followed by others. He preached in India and under Shāpur (c. 242-273) in Babylonia, Media and Parthia. But Bahrām I (274-277) seized him and he died (prob. 276).

Mani taught that Buddha, Zoroaster and Jesus were great prophets, but that he was the last and greatest. His system was a dualism in which God opposed Matter. The elect among his followers abstained from meat, all killing of animals and plants, and sexual relations. The influence of this teaching lasted over a millennium.