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CAESTUS, or Cestus (from Lat. caedo, strike), a gauntlet or boxing-glove used by the ancient pugilists. Of this there were several varieties, the simplest and least dangerous being the meilichae ("meilichai"), which consisted of strips of raw hide tied under the palm, leaving the fingers bare. With these the athletes in the palaestrae were wont to practise, reserving for serious contests the more formidable kinds, such as the sphaerae ("sphairai"), which were sewn with small metal balls covered with leather, and the terrible murmekes ("murmêkes"), sometimes called "limb-breakers" ("guiotoroi"), which were studded with heavy nails. The straps ("himantes") were of different lengths, many reaching to the elbow, in order to protect the forearm when guarding heavy blows (see J.H. Krause, Gymnastik und Agonistik der Hellenen, 1841). The caestus is to be distinguished from cestus (=embroidered, from "kentein"), an adjective used as a noun in the sense of "girdle," especially the girdle of Aphrodite, which was supposed to have the power of exciting love.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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