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.