Allegories are typically used as literary devices or rhetorical devices that convey hidden meanings through symbolic figures, actions, imagery, and events, which together create the moral, spiritual, or political meaning the author wishes to convey. In classical literature two of the best-known allegories are the Cave in Plato’s Republic (Book VII) and the story of the stomach and its members in the speech of Menenius Agrippa (Livy ii. 32)

In early Greek sources it concerns a dispute between the stomach and the feet, or between it and the hands and feet in later Latin versions. These grumble because the stomach gets all of the food, refusing to supply them with nourishment. They see sense when they realise that they are weakening themselves. The present understanding is that the tale’s moral supports team effort and recognition of the vital part that all members play in it

First used in English in 1382, the word allegory comes from Latin allegoria, the latinisation of the Greek ἀλληγορία allegoria or veiled language

The Belly and the Members – Aesop’s Fables 130 in the Perry Index

Illustration from John Ogilby’s version of the fables 1668