Mani was born in 216 AD in Babylon (in today's Iraq). When he was twenty, he saw a vision and declared himself a prophet. He then traveled all over Persia talking about his ideas, which were a mixture of Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism.
Soon he found many followers. Even the Sasanian king, Hormazd I (272-273) supported Mani. But after the King's death, his successor, Bahram I, was alarmed by Mani's popularity. So, he ordered the execution of Mani and his followers. Many of his followers fled to Europe, spreading Mani's ideas in Sicily and Spain.
The religion founded by Mani was called "Manicheanism." One of Mani's followers was St. Augustine of Hippo, a famous theologian (someone who studies religion). St. Augustine (on the right) later became Christian and wrote many important books on Christianity.