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Progymnasmata ( Greek προγυμνάσματα "fore-exercises"; Latin praeexercitamina) are a series of preliminary rhetorical exercises that began in ancient Greece and distended during the Roman Empire. These exercises were implemented by students of rhetoric, who began their schooling between ages twelve and fifteen. The purpose of these exercises was to prepare students for writing declamations after they had completed their education with the grammarians. There are only four surviving handbooks of progymnasmata, attributed to Aelius Theon, Hermogenes of Tarsus, Aphthonius of Antioch, and Nicolaus the Sophist.