|Title||Knights of Pythias membership insignia|
|Dimensions||H-3 W-1.625 inches|
|Provenance||descent through family|
|Credit line||Gift of Teresa Banner|
Max Banner received this Knights of Pythias medal for serving as a Past Grand Representative.
The Knights of Pythias, a now obscure fraternal organization, once enjoyed an extremely active presence in late 19th-century and early 20th-century Columbus. Justus H. Rathbone founded the group in Washington, D.C. in 1864, inspired by the Greek legend of Damon and Pythias centered on ideals of friendship, loyalty, and honor. The Knights used medieval terminology, and advanced members could join the Uniformed Rank, which adopted military-inspired uniforms and swords to be worn in parades. The society reached its peak in the 1920s, with nearly a million members nationwide; today, there are more than 50,000. In Columbus, residents organized one lodge by 1884, with a second operating for several years before the two merged. Named for Confederate generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, the group continued operating until the 1930s.
Knights of Pythias