Among other evidences we see several historians explicitly testifying that their goal is to report the truth..
• Thucydides (460-400 BC) says so.1
• Polybius (200-118 BC) says so.2
• Cicero (106-43 BC) says so.3
• Sallust (86-35 BC) says so.4
• Dionysius (60 BC-7 AD+) says so.5
• Strabo (64 BC-24 AD) says so.6
• Josephus (37-100 AD) implies so.7
• Luke & Gospel Authors () say so.8
• Lucian (125-180 AD+) says so.9
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.
• 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.
Before writing their historical works, 1st century Greco-Roman historiographers tended to laboriously investigate the relevant issues surrounding their topics of choice.
• 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: “old men couldn’t do it!”.
• Siculus: “Some historians die before completing!”
• Historians strove for a 1st-hand-as-possible history
Greco-Roman historiographers tend to be quite discerning, critically evaluating their sources and the claims those sources made.(E.g. They Help readers rationally proportion their confidence).
• Historians, in-text, judged claim & source reliability.
• They advocated rational research principles.
• Historians oft felt 2nd-3rd hand etc. unacceptable.
• Historians strove to produce 1st-hand-as-possible history.
1st century Greco-Roman historiographers were often flexible with peripheral details, whether or not there was an unalterable core. This is relevant because those side-details are part of the truth. To be “flexible” with them is to fail to be a truth-centered genre.
But so what? Plausibly…
• That would not change the general thrust that the reports are meant to be “essentially” accurate; and some historians were not so flexible.