I was listening to Zack's podcast on Napoleonic myths and the consensus view proposed by Ed Coss that Napoleon lacked the human characteristic of empathy. Before moving to my question I suppose I need to clarify I am neither a worshiper nor a detractor of the 'great man' - I say great ... not good.
Given the nature of class-based hierarchical societies of the late eighteen and early nineteenth centuries, intricately interwoven with monarchical government and privileged/closed institutions, just how common was empathy at the time? Do we have much evidence of widespread empathy being exhibited amongst Europe's ruling elites in this era?
I'm inclined to favour Ed Coss's proposal but am I wrong in thinking it neither remarkable or unusual a feature within a general or national leader?