Figure Name dicaeologia
Source Silva Rhetoricae (http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Silva.htm); Peacham; De Mille (1882) ("excuse," "vindication")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms dichologia, figure of excuse, excuse, vindication
Etymology None
Type Trope
Linguistic Domain Semantic

1. Admitting what's charged against one, but excusing it by necessity. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. 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. (Peacham)

3. 2d. Excuse-vindication. When a writer or speaker is in any way set on his defence, a personal allusion takes this form. (De Mille)


1. At the start of 3 Henry VI, the King, making a political compromise, has designated York, rather than his son, to be his heir. When pressed about it by the queen and the prince, he employs dicaeologia in response:
Prince. Father, you cannot disinherit me.
If you be king, why should not I succeed?
King Henry Pardon me, Margaret, pardon me, sweet son,
The Earl of Warwick and the Duke enforc'd me.
—Shakespeare 3 Henry VI 1.1.226-29 (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. 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? (Peacham)

2. 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. (Peacham)

3. A passage of this character is found in St. Paul's Second Epistle to the Corinthians:
"Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I....Are they ministers of Christ? ...I am more; in labors more abundant." (De Mille)

Kind Of Opposition
Part Of
Related Figures paromologia, figures of refutation, figures of permission
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Samantha Price
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No