posted on Aug, 25 2006 @ 03:51 PM
Well. as for the whole discussion of the history of Kappa Sigma being connected to an ancient student society in Europe, that info has been closely
guarded by the members for over 125 years.
I would like to make a few corrections as to Kappa Sigma. Kappa Sigma was not founded my members of the Free Masons, and William McCormick DID NOT
introduce the "Bologna Tradition" into Kappa Sigma. The fact is the order does not truly know who the first was to tell the story of Chrysoloras
and his students. The organization believes that in 1868 George Miles Arnold and a friend known as George Hollingsworth went to Europe to study,
prior to their enrolling in college. While in Paris they met a man who was the last man in his family, and striking conversation with Arnold and
Hollingsworth, they learned of an old student society that was founded in Italy around 1400, and remained secret in nature for centuries, the secrets
being handed down from father to son. Most of this information can be found in old Kappa Sigma publications, and is not secret. Also, if you find
old editions of the Baird's Manual to American Cllege Fraternities, you will find the same story (and the name of that society in Italy).
As I stated, at the time of the American founding of Kappa Sigma in 1869, none of the members were Masons. The original initiation that was used by
the early founders was nothing more than an oath of secercy, reading the constitution, and then the telling of the secrets of the order to the new
member. No elaborate ceremony. The original oath and charge of the order was however taken from a copy of a publication on Masonic Secrets that one
of the founders roomates had. They read the booklet then used this as the template. Later, when S. A. Jackson came along, he saw that the ceremony
needed to be refined nd began to work on it. If you look at almost any of the college fraternities and their beginnings, you will see that in fact
most did not "steal" from Masonry at first, what they stole from was the original concept of initiation as used by Phi Beta Kappa before it went
honorary. (Phi Beta Kappa was the first secret fraternity in America -- 1776).
Many groups years later would revise their rituals to suit the needs of the order or the interests of the members. The borrowing of symbols or forms
of ceremony was in vouge at the time. No one would admit it of course, but almost all groups used the rituals of the organizations they either
belonged to themselves or had friends in. Remember that in the 1800s, almost all fraternities founded prior to the Civil War were merely Literary in
nature, they were social outlets for students at colleges in which students weren't allowed to question authority. They met in secret to discuss the
current events and to have fun, both of which they could not due in public or in any classroom.
Getting back to Kappa Sigma, Jackson when he began to re-invent the ritual of KS, used the forms from several groups he belonged to, most of the
ceremony is actually based loosely on the ceremonies of the Knights of Pythias (itself a very young organization at the time 1870s-1880s). Jackson had
a story told to him Arnold and Hollingsworth, and need a way to tell the story to new initiates in a way they would be impressed upon. The initiation
process used today has been unchanged from Jasckons work.
To add my two cents worth to some of the other posts here, I'd like to add that Kappa Alpha Order's rituals were also based on another college
fraternity of the time that had just recenlt gone defunct, it was known as Epsilon Alpha. Nothing is really known about this organization except what
KA O. has in their archives (members only stuff).
I'll add more about M7 in another post.