Dicaeologia, is a forme of speech by which the Orator either defendeth his cause by equitie, or excuseth it by necessitie, or else doth extenuate it by alledging some other occasion.
An example of Cicero: I knewe not that I came against his cause till he complained, but should I not come for mine acquaintance and friends behalfe against a stranger? should I not come against favour gotten not with shew of vertue, but with gallantnesse of youth? should I not come against injury, which he hath obtained by the helpe of a wicked partaker, and not by the lawe of procurators?
Another: I forsooke my friend, bu tthe lawes compelled me: I kept friendship most faithfully, as long as the lawes permitted me, and now I am not cast off by will, but by the force of law.
The use of this figure.
This figure doth pertaine properly to defend, to excuse, and to
extenuate, and it may well be compared to the sayle which
is spredde more largelie, and wound up more narrowly as
the weather, winde, and water requyre, and lykewise to armour which is put on against fight, and put off against slight: for if defense faile, this figure turneth to excusation, if exucsation cannot serve the turne, it flieth to exclamation, as the last refuge.
Injurious. False. Excessive. Wicked.
In using this figure we ought to regard that the defence be not injurious, nor the excuse false, nor the extenuation excessive or wicked.