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The Latin epic poem The Aeneid, which was written between 29 and 19 BC by Virgil, narrates the narrative of Aeneas, a Trojan who fled the collapse of Troy and made his way to Italy, where he eventually settled and became the progenitor of the Romans. It has 9,896 dactylic hexameter lines. The poem's second half describes the Trojans' eventually successful fight against the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be absorbed. The wanderings of Aeneas from Troy to Italy are detailed in the first six of the poem's twelve books. Greco-Roman myth and legend were already familiar with the hero Aeneas because he appeared in the Iliad. The Aeneid was transformed by Virgil from the disjointed tales of Aeneas' wanderings, his hazy connection to the founding of Rome, and his description as a personage of no fixed characteristics other than scrupulous pietas into a compelling founding myth or national epic that connected Rome to the Troyan legends, explained the Punic Wars, exalted traditional Roman virtues, and validated the Julio-Claudian dynasty. One of the best pieces of Latin literature and largely recognized as Virgil's masterpiece is The Aeneid.