Cap and Gown Origins
The following post was from my original blog on ronincyberpunk.com, it is archived here for posterity purposes
Having graduated last night I was struck with the urge to find the history of the odd cap and gown, after posting on the wonderful "Straight Dope" site message boards, I was told the true name of the cap was "the mortarboard" after the mortar spreader used by brick masons and such.
With my new found term I googled and got lucky with the first hit being this page. Which gave such wonderful information as follows:
THE CAP. In comparison to the gown, the mortarboard is relatively young. It descends from a favorite headdress of the medieval laity, the pileus, a close-fitting felt cap that was adopted by the Church in 1311 and became typical at the universities.
Quite an interesting answer.
Now I am off to enjoy the final night with my brother and sister-in-law before they leave for Georgia again. We are off to see Star Wars Attack of the Clones.
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