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([Greek: sphairai]) were regarded as a useful subsidiary to the more violent athletic exercises, as a means of keeping the body supple, and rendering it graceful, but were generally left to boys and girls.
With these the athletes in the _palaestrae_ were wont to practise, reserving for serious contests the more formidable kinds, such as the _sphaerae_ ([Greek: sphairai]), which were sewn with small metal balls covered with leather, and the terrible _murmekes_ ([Greek: murmêkes]), sometimes called "limb-breakers" ([Greek: guiotoroi]), which were studded with heavy nails.