The first recorded instance of the body politic metaphor appears in the Rigveda (c. 1500 bce), the oldest of the sacred books of Hinduism. There the South Asian caste system is explained by comparing the priesthood to the mouth, soldiers to the arms, shepherds to the thighs, and peasants to the feet of humankind.
A well-known ancient example of a bodily metaphor appears in “The Belly and the Members,” a fable attributed to the legendary Greek fabulist Aesop. In the fable, the other members of the body revolt against the belly, which they think is doing none of the work while getting all of the food. The hands, mouth, teeth, and legs initiate a strike, but after a few days they realize that they are weak and ailing. They thus learn that cooperation between all members of the body, including the invisible belly, is vital for