Founded by Mani (c. AD 216-276), a Syrian visionary of Judaeo-Christian background who lived in Persian Mesopotamia, Manichaeism spread rapidly into the Roman Empire in the third and fourth centuries AD and became one of the most persecuted heresies under Christian Roman emperors. The religion established missionary cells in Syria, Egypt, North Africa and Rome and has in Augustine of Hippo the most famous of its converts. The study of the religion in the Roman Empire has benefited from discoveries of genuine Manichaean texts from Medinet Madi and from the Dakhleh Oasis in Egypt, as well as successful decipherment of the Cologne Mani-Codex which gives an autobiography of the founder in Greek. This first ever single-volume collection of sources for this religion, which draws from material mostly unknown to English-speaking scholars and students, offers in translation genuine Manichaean texts from Greek, Latin and Coptic.

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