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[14] At times, on the other hand, the blame may be shifted to some thing: for instance, a person who has failed to comply with some testamentary injunction may plead that the laws forbade such compliance. The Greek term for such shifting is μετάστασις.

If these methods of defence are out of the question, we must take refuge in making excuses. We may plead ignorance. For example, if a man has branded a runaway slave and the latter is subsequently adjudged to be a free man, he may deny that he was cognisant of the truth. Or we may plead necessity; for instance, if a soldier overstays his leave, he may plead that his return was delayed by floods or ill health.

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