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Akbar (1542-1605; reigned 1556-1605) was the third, and arguably the greatest, Mughal emperor. He succeeded his father Humayun at the age of thirteen, and achieved early success as a general, defeating threats to the empire from rival Moslem and Hindu states. Although illiterate, he was a cultured and learned man, with a lively and enquiring mind. He sought a synthesis of religions: at the city of Fatehpur Sikri which he created in the arid land west of Agra, he built a 'house of worship' where Moslems, Christians, Zoroastrians, Hindus and others would gather to discuss faith with the emperor. According to Fred Reinhard Dallmayr, "the outcome of these debates was a modified version of monotheism composed of strands from Sufism, Zoroastrianism, and Hinduism which Akbar himself professed - but without compelling adherence to his beliefs throughout his empire." (Beyond Orientalism: Essays on Cross-Cultural Encounter)

He was succeeded by his son Jahangir.