"Augustine was the first major philosopher to reject the deeply normative politics of classical thought and its conception of the state as the highest achievement of social existence. For Aristotle, the polis was the “perfect community”—the fulfillment of human association and the precondition for the cultivation of intellectual and ethical excellence. Cicero too defined the state in normative terms; a “republic,” he maintained, was an “assemblage [of men] associated by a common acknowledgement of right and by a community of interests.”3 To the classical mind, human flourishing was inextricably entwined with the flourishing of the state; personal and political fulfillments were symbiotic and inseparable.4
Augustine, the mystical Christian sage, was not impressed with such views. For he held a higher allegiance—to his God—along side which the human state and its strictly secular concerns paled to insignificance. Moreover, he held no illusions regarding the essence of political authority—coerciveness. Coercive rule was, for him, a necessary aspect of human existence but certainly not one worthy of reverence..."
"Augustine and the Case for Limited Government"