While Roman historians tended to focus on local Roman history, which didn’t require travel, Hellenistic historians would travel for several years gathering information in preparation for writing their historical work; field work was expected.
This page analyzes these 4 arguments:
This is relevant because, of course, traveling was expensive, arduous, and time-consuming. It definitely counts as laborious investigation.
The writings are glaringly academic; they eloquently pack in a density of details which would have taken work to secure.
Often enough, historians explicitly say or imply that real labor was required to step into the role of a historian.
The very Greek word associated with the labor of a Herodotus and a Polybius—ἱστορία—carried within it the notion of seriously hard work.
This is relevant because the meaning of the term likely corresponds with what historians qua historians actually did.
A number of historians explicitly testify that they put in significant work and effort in order to fulfill their duties as an historian.
This is relevant because it is unlikely that they were lying.
Polybius extensively critiques Timaeus in the severest of words, many of which focus on his being incredibly lazy as a historian (failing to fulfill the historian’s basic story).
This is relevant because Polybius’s comment that Timaeus is the laziest historian is an indirect statement about the laborious practice of most historians. Timaeus was not lazy at all (e.g. he applied probability and actually did travel some.1; he also spent decades reading/researching), so Polybius likely thinks most historians are quite industrious indeed.
Charles Fornara: “[Polybius's] polemic against Timaeus, by our standards and indefatigable and enterprising scholar, is revealing. Not only did he deride this ‘armchair’ historian for priding himself on the pains he took to collect books on the customs of Ligurians, Celts, and Iberians (12.28a.3); he even sneered (12.27.4-6) that Timaeus chose Athens as his place of residence because it possessed a good library …” [The Nature of History in Ancient Greece and Rome* (1983, University of California Press), 48.]
Agatharchides of Cnidus testified that his old age would prevent him from completing his history.
This is relevant because it is unlikely that Agatharchides is referring to the mere labor of writing (which is what he is doing as he records this). Instead, it suggests that, unless the would-be historian had already travelled and obtained 1st hand experience--e.g. by being a general in the war he is writing on—they would need to put in significant work traveling and inquiring in their older age.
Diodorus Siciulus made an incidental comment that often enough histories were not completed because the historians would in fact die before completing their work.
This is relevant because writing works which require no investigation takes relatively little time. But it seems historians had no such luxury; they rather tended to invest a great deal of time in producing their histories, and this time is most plausibly spent on the labors of investigation (e.g. traveling and interrogating witnesses).
Ideal Greco-Roman historiographers worked hard to relay honest witness testimony, and in their eyes: the more direct/1st hand the testimony was, the better it was.
This page analyzes examples and 5 arguments…
This is relevant because it would naturally involve laborious investigation.
Greco-Roman historiographers were not particularly discerning; they rarely critically evaluated their sources and the claims those sources made.
Each of these are forthcoming...