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Telemachus-A Monk Who Stood Up and Said, “No More!”

Who was Telemachus and what did he do that changed the course of human history?  

Telemachus was a monk who lived during the 4th century A.D. in the the province of Rome.  As a monk, he was a devout follower of Jesus and provided teaching to followers of the new religion.  As the faith was gaining traction througout Rome, it bothered Telemachus that so many Romans regarded the killing and bludgeoning that occurred at gladiator games as entertainment.

Among this advanced people with so much wealth and opportunity, he wondered how could they declare themselves as civilized.  Certainly, Jesus would have regarded these gladiator spectacles with disdain.

Determined to let his voice be heard and do something about the disgrace of the gladiator games, Telemachus attended one of the matches in AD 391 and during the match arose to his feet and began shouting, “In the name of Jesus, stop this!”  “In the name of Jesus, stop this!”  He went on to ask all the spectators to take a look at themselves and what they had become, allowing blood and killing to distort their views on humanity and caring for their neighbor.  Though he was heard, the crowd did not take kindly to his interruption and probably only allowed it because they thought it was part of the show.  Frequently, there were comedic diversions during gladiator matches and the crowd had originally thought this was probably also one of those side shows.

Once they realized Telemachus was criticing their viewing of the match and wanted to end it, they turned on him and began heaving objects at him and killed him.  After his death, the Emperor Honorius was so taken by his heroism and the crowd’s reaction, he eventually declared an end to all gladiator games.

The last known gladiator game occurred in AD 404.  Telemachus is given credit as providing the impetus to end the gladiator games forever.

I wonder if Telemachus had not had the courage to step into what he believed in how far the gladiator games may have taken man down the path of killing for sport?  Certainly, this turn in history can be creditted as a monumental turn toward compassion and civility.

Telemachus demonstrated the kind of courage it takes to be an Agent of Social Change.  What are you passionate about that you would like to see end or start?  Let Telemachus be an inspiration that one man/woman can change the course of human history.

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