FACT FOOD #423

Scaramouche was a name given to an actor in traditional Italian comedy, representing a cowardly braggart. The word comes from the Italian Scaramuccia, which means ‘skirmish’ in turn from Old High German skirmen (to defend). The word became popular due to the Italian actor Tiberio Fiurelli, who popularised and developed the character to a large extent by removing the mask, instead used white powder on his face and employed black costumes, long mustache, small beard and a white ruff. Scaramouche is also the name of a historical novel by Rafael Sabatini.