In Greek mythology, Telemachus is the son of Odysseus. He is featured in the first four books of Homer’s The Odyssey, known as The Telemachia. The only son of Penelope and Odysseus, Telemachus was born before the Trojan War. His father had to leave for combat in Troy soon after his birth. When, as an infant Telemachus fell into the ocean, dolphins saved him in tribute, Odysseus wore the emblem of the dolphins as a symbol on his shield. The name Telemachus means “far from battle.”
In his father’s absence, Telemachus was brought up in the court of Ithaca under the tutelage of Mentor, his father’s old friend. However, at 17, Telemachus felt he’d grown up. At the same time, the ransacking of his father’s possessions began, as his mother was faced with other suitors. (After all, his father had been gone for a long time.) Determined to stop them, Telemachus left to find news of his father’s fate. Eventually, after a long search with several memorable stops, father and son were reunited, and together, Odysseus and Telemachus hatched a plan and evicted the suitors.
The significance of Telemachus as a figure has remained strong through the ages. The teacher-student relationship between Mentor and Telemachus was the subject of the famed 1699 book about the French monarchy, The Adventures of Telemachus by François Fénelon. In James Joyce’s Ulysses, Episode One is named for Telemachus. Telemachus Press enjoys being mentored by our writers throughout our journey.