Both Plato and Isocrates affirm that, above all else, Pythagoras was famous for leaving behind him a way oflife. Both Iamblichus and Porphyry give detailed accounts of the organisation of the school, although the primary interest of both writers is not historical accuracy, but ratherto present Pythagoras as a divine figure, sent by the gods to benefit humankind.
Pythagoras set up an organization which was in some ways a school, in some ways a brotherhood, andin some ways a monastery. It was based upon the religious teachings of Pythagoras and was very secretive. The adherents were bound by a vow to Pythagoras and each other, for thepurpose of pursuing the religious and ascetic observances, and of studying his religious and philosophical theories. The claim that they put all their property into a common stockis perhaps only a later inference from certain Pythagorean maxims and practices.] On the other hand, it seems certain that there were many women among the adherents of Pythagoras.