What is the Princes of Bagdad?
The Princes of Bagdad were a side order associated with the Ancient and Illustrious Order of the Knights of Malta. Not to be confused with the Masonic Templars of the Commandery, the Knights of Malta were a separate organization, uniformed much like the Templars, with heavy emphasis on the Christian religion. As with many turn of the century fraternal groups, the members wanted an organization that was less serious within which to socialize and enjoy fellowship. Enter the Princes of Bagdad. To our knowledge, the Princes of Bagdad are long since defunct, but the Ancient and Illustrious Order of the Knights of Malta are still around in a small capacity.
The Princes met in groups called Siestas, but the number on the fez is not the number of the local body. Rather, owing to the legend of the initiation ritual, they were never supposed to have more than 77 members at a meeting. Bassora Siesta met in Bethlehem, PA. The fez is made of black felt, although it has dulled with age. The tassel is also black. The name and number are done in gold bullion style thread, which is slightly tarnished with age. This fez probably dates from prior to the 1930’s.
While not different in style from the other Princes of Bagdad fezzes we have, this one is in remarkably good condition. The bullion remains bright and shiny, while the body of the fez is still firm and undamaged. This fez probably dates from the 1930’s or before, making its preservation all that much more remarkable. Tut-Tut Siesta met in Lancaster, PA.