An interesting suggestion in Alistair MacIntyre’s History of Ethics: Part of the problem for the Greek polis in the Periclean Age was that the culturally central image of human excellence was that of the Homeric hero, whose arete (“virtue”) consisted in being a brave, ruthless and successful fighter and plotter. But that sort of relentlessly self-assertive behavior, in the context of a political way of life, is sociopathy. Place Achilles in Athens, and you have Alkibiades.
If that’s right, it puts a different spin on the famous suggestion in Book II Republic that the city-in-speech being constructed will need to edit its Homer, or at least the version of Homer to be read by the young.
HOMER, ARETE, AND SOCIOPATHY