As closely connected with religious life, he was an augur and seer; practised magical arts, especially astrology; founded or rendered accessible many important cults, such as those of Apollo and Dionysus; instituted mystic rites, both public and private; prescribed initiatory and purificatory ritual.
He was the mythic founder of a religious school or sect, with a code of rules of life, a mystic eclectic theology, a system of purificatory and expiatory rites, and peculiar mysteries.
Both inculcated a peculiar kind of ascetic life; both had a mystical speculative theory of religion, with purificatory rites, abstinence from beans, &c.; but Orphism was more especially religious, while Pythagoreanism, at least originally, inclined more to be a political and philosophical creed.
At the Roman Lupercalia women were flogged by the celebrants to avert sterility or as a purificatory ceremony (W.
In less developed creeds the difference tends to remain in the background; but where sacrifices are found, solemn annual rites, communal, purificatory or expiatory, are celebrated, and these are held to be in like manner obligatory.