Did Greco-Roman historiographers tend to successfully ground their material in witness testimony or approval?

“Yes, after all…
  • Greco-Roman histories self-claim to be true

      Historiographical works belong to a truth-aimed genre, and they are intrinsically claiming to accurately recount the past as it actually happened.
      This page analyzes 4 alleged evidences…
      • Polybius etc. say they were aiming for accuracy.
      • Historians strove to produce 1st-hand-as-possible history.
      • Historians laboriously collected info/investigated.
      • Historians critically examined claims.
      This is relevant because, if they tried, these historians would be generally successful in actually grounding their material in witness testimony or approval, or at least be able to discern whether they succeeded in their attempt. So it is all the more relevant that they did publish their history.

  • Historians strove for a 1st-hand-as-possible history

      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 some examples and 6 evidences…
      • Histories DID get witness approval and/or close.
      • Historians oft say “witness testimony only!”
      • Lying historiographers pretended to be or use witnesses.
      • Ancients prize testimony being 1st hand as possible.
      • Greco-Roman histories self-claim to be true.
      • Ancients strove to echo “from beginning” witnesses.

      This is relevant because they were fairly able to produce a true history with effort. Exceptions abound, but for the most part they wrote within the witness-era or shortly after, making it likely that most of their material did enjoy witness-approval or close.

  • Greco-Roman histories self-identify as witness-grounded

      Greco-Roman histories self-identify as witness grounded

      Historical works from the Greco-Roman mediterranean proudly self-identity as relaying witness testimony. This page analyzes 4 evidences:
      • Polybius etc. testify that they did.
      • Historians oft say: “I saw this all 1st hand.”
      • Histories cited witnesses via emphasis.
      • Histories DID get witness-testimony or close.

      But wait...
      • Historians didn’t even strive to produce a witness-based history. [See page link above.]

  • Historians oft felt 2nd-3rd hand etc. unacceptable

      Greco-Roman historiographers tended to lambast the use of hearsay in their reports (especially when witnesses were available). This page analyzes these 5 evidences:
      • Historians insist “ONLY share/relay 1st hand info.”
      • Historians say hearsay is a last resort.
      • That’s wrapped into the definition of historia” (ἱστορία).
      • Historians usually stuck to writing in the witness-age.
      • Historians labored to produce direct witness-based history.

      On the other hand, arguably…
      They did not feel witness-grounding was important.

  • “No, after all…
  • Greco-Romans didn’t care if testimony was 1st or 9th hand

      Greco-Roman inquirers about the past place little to no value on whether the source was directly witness-based closed to being such. This page analyzes one evidence:
      • They didn't even prize witness testimony.

      But against the accuracy of that claim (also discussed in the above page)...
      • Ancients were oft critical thinkers.
      • Polybius etc. say “all agree” 1st hand is best.
      • Most inquiry in the past valued witness-testimony.
      • Ancients oft said “seeing beats hearing.”
      • E.g. Historians oft felt 2nd-3rd hand etc. is unacceptable

  • Historians didn’t even work to investigate

      Greco-Roman historiographers didn't really put much work into preparing for their histories. This page considers 2 claims/evidences…
      • Historians didn’t critically examine their sources.
      • Ancient historians regularly produced errors.
      This is relevant because then they wouldn’t strive in this particular way: to produce a 1st-hand-as-possible history.

      But against the main claim, that page also cosiders these counterevidences
      • The works internally exemplify hard work.
      • Historians imply that labor was the required norm.
      • “Historia” (ἱστορία) denotes a laborious research.
      • Historians testify to laboring to get info.
      • Polybius calls Timaeus the laziest historian.
      • Agatharchides (c. 150 BC): “old men couldn’t do it!”.
      • Siculus (c. 50 BC): “Historians sometimes die before completing!”
      • Historians strove to produce 1st-hand-as-possible history.

  • SHOW/HIDE MENU