Knights of Pythias
(and I.O.O.F.)
(United States)

This sword is a representative example of another common society or lodge sword. The most distinctive feature is that it is a "short sword." It has a ball finial on the pommel (which normally unscrews for hilt removal). The grip displays a panoplay of arms such as suit of armor (in the Roman fashion) resting upon a lance as a hanger, in the background is a set of crossed halberds - polearms - and a set of crossed swords. The cross-guard ends in reverse-curl finials.
The hilts are cast from a variety of metals and can be found plated or unplated.
They are very rugged in appearance and although not intended for combat, I suppose in an emergency it was possible.
I have an image of a "musician" or "cadet" with a sword very similar to this one, so I suppose it could also have been used in the military for "non-combatants."
I have been told that these were used by the Master-at-Arms during various Knights of Pythias (USA) ceremonies. A comparable sword is listed in the Ames Sword Company catalog of the late 1800's as item number 335 under I.O.O.F. [Independent Order of Odd Fellows] - Short Swords, "Grecian Sword, Black Leather Scabbard." They are also shown to be available with colored, velvet, or metal scabbards.

Fraternal, Lodge, or Society swords are relatively inexpensive to own and are fun to collect. There are seemingly infinite variations and I have owned many. Most are totally devoid of markings and found in infinite degrees of condition.

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