Let me further point out that your bringing this up at all is to deflect from whether your “critical” question, THIS ONE:
…has been adequately answered.
There were numerous “actual references” to Christian martyrs who had the chance to recant to save their lives, but didn’t.
By the way, those references were to documents that are considered by most historians to be reasonably reliable as sources. Many are considered to have been based upon public records of the time.
I will rephrase a point I brought up earlier that you never did address.
These reliable documents provide details about the martyrdoms of some of the Apostles, but also of disciples of Apostles like Polycarp, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, and others.
The question I asked previously was: Why would later followers of Jesus, who were not Apostles, have willingly given up their lives for their beliefs if the actual Apostles wimped out?
That wouldn’t make any sense. The motives for credibility of people like Polycarp, et al, came from the strength of the beliefs of those Apostles of whom they were students. These individuals did not know Jesus personally, and yet (as those citations above show in great detail) these individuals remained faithful, did not recant and were tortured and suffered excruciating deaths as a result. That wouldn’t make any sense unless the Apostles themselves would have demonstrated a willingness to have done the same.
We can, then, be reasonably certain that if these second generation (and following) Christians were willing to undergo torturous martyrdom for their faith, they must have had reasonable conviction that those from whom they received their conviction would have been just as willing to do the same. Therefore, those who so died in those times would likely have had reliable evidence that the Apostles, for the most part, died or would have been willing to die for their faith. The tradition of most of the Apostles having been martyred is very likely to have been true, given the persecutions of Christians by the Romans at the time.
In other words, we have more reason for thinking the Apostles suffered martyrdom than we have for believing they wouldn’t have or didn’t.