Under Mani, the church encouraged zealous missionary work and it spread, with his writings translated into different languages. (Some religions hold their sacred writing untranslatable.) Manichaeism spread to North Africa, Rome, and Gaul, before disappearing from the Roman Empire and Europe by the 5-6th century. However, Manichaeism continued in Central Asia from a base in Samarkand.
Mani was imprisoned and ordered executed under the Sassanid Persian King Bahram I (r. 273-276) whose grandfather had welcomed the prophet. The trial in c. 276 lasted 26 days, following attacks on him by Zoroastrian priests. Encyclopedia Britannica says he died in prison.
- "Chapter 14 - The Sassnians," by Richard N. Frye; pp. 461-80; The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 12: The Crisis of Empire, AD 193-337, Second edition; 2005.
- Manichaeism. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 14, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9050539
- How Rome Fell, by Adrian Goldsworthy. 2009
- Iran, ancient. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 14, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-32152
Manichaeism is also considered a Christian heresy.