The Last of the Gladiators
Telemachus was a monk who lived in the 4th century. He felt God saying to him, “Go to Rome.” He was in a cloistered monastery. He put his possessions in a sack and set out for Rome. When he arrived in the city, people were thronging in the streets. He asked why all the excitement and was told that this was the day that the gladiators would be fighting and killing each other in the coliseum, the day of the games, the circus. He thought to himself, “Four centuries after Christ and they are still killing each other, for enjoyment?” He ran to the coliseum and heard the gladiators saying, “Hail to Caesar, we die for Caesar” and he thought, “this isnt right.” He jumped over the railing and went out into the middle of the field, got between two gladiators, held up his hands and said “In the name of Christ, forbear.”
The crowd protested and began to shout, “Run him through, Run him through.” A gladiator came over and hit him in the stomach with the back of his sword. It sent him sprawling in the sand. He got up and ran back and again said, “In the name of Christ, forbear.” The crowd continued to chant, “Run him through.” One gladiator came over and plunged his sword through the little monks stomach and he fell into the sand, which began to turn crimson with his blood. One last time he gasped out, “In the name of Christ forbear.”
A hush came over the 80,000 people in the coliseum. Soon a man stood and left, then another and more, and within minutes all 80,000 had emptied out of the arena. It was the last-known gladiatorial contest in the history of Rome.