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[3] Another method consists in saying that it was a case of error, misfortune, or necessity; as, for example, Sophocles said that he trembled, not, as the accuser said, in order to appear old, but from necessity, for it was against his wish that he was eighty years of age.1 One may also substitute one motive for another, and say that one did not mean to injure but to do something else, not that of which one was accused, and that the wrongdoing was accidental: “I should deserve
your hatred, had I acted so as to bring this about.”

1 Sophocles had two sons, Iophon and Ariston, by different wives; the latter had a son named Sophocles. Iophon, jealous of the affection shown by Sophocles to this grandson, summoned him before the phratores (a body which had some jurisdiction in family affairs) on the ground that his age rendered him incapable of managing his affairs. In reply to the charge, Sophocles read the famous choric ode on Attica from the Oedipus Coloneus, beginning Εὐίππου, ξένε, τᾶσδε χώραςSoph. OC 668 ff.), and was acquitted. The story in this form is probably derived from some comedy, which introduced the case on the stage (see Jebb's Introd. to the tragedy).

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