It was the great remodeller of myths, Stesichorus who first in his “Destruction of Ilion” brought Aeneas to the land of the west, that he might poetically enrich the world of fable in the country of his birth and of his adoption, Sicily and Lower Italy, by the contrast of the Trojan heroes with the Greek.
With him originated the poetical outlines of this fable as thenceforward fixed, especially the group of the hero and his wife, his little son and his aged father bearing the household gods, departing from burning Troy, and the important identification of the Trojans with the Sicilian and Italian autochthones, which is especially apparent in the case of the Trojan trumpeter Misenus who gave his name to the promontory of Misenum.
The old poet was guided in this view by the feeling that the barbarians of Italy were less widely removed from the Greeks than other barbarians were, and that the relation between the Greeks and Italians might, when measured poetically, be conceived as similar to that between the Homeric Achaeans and the Trojans. This new Trojan fable soon came to be mixed up with the earlier legend of Odysseus, while it spread at the same time more widely over Italy.
According to Hellanicus (who wrote about 350) Odysseus and Aeneas came through the country of the Thracians and Molottians (Epirus) to Italy, where the Trojan women whom they had brought with them burnt the ships, and Aeneas founded the city of Rome and named it after one of these Trojan women. To a similar effect, only with less absurdity, Aristotle related that an Achaean squadron cast upon the Latin coast had been set on fire by Trojan female slaves, and that the Latins had originated from the descendants of the Achaeans who were thus compelled to remain there and of their Trojan wives.
With these tales were next mingled elements from the indigenous legend, the knowledge of which had been diffused as far as Sicily by the active intercourse between Sicily and Italy, at least towards the end of this epoch. In the version of the origin of Rome, which the Sicilian Callias put on record about 465, the fables of Odysseus, Aeneas, and Romulus were intermingled.
According to his account Rome, a woman who had fled from Ilion to Rome, or rather her daughter of the same name, married Latinos, king of the Aborigines, and bore to him three sons, Romos, Romylos, and Telegonos. The last, who undoubtedly emerges here as founder of Tusculum and Praeneste, belongs, as is well known, to the legend of Odysseus.
But the person who really completed the conception subsequently current of this Trojan migration was Timaeus of Tauromenium in Sicily, who concluded his historical work with 492. It is he who represents Aeneas as first founding Lavinium with its shrine of the Trojan Penates, and as thereafter founding Rome; he must also have interwoven the Tyrian princess Elisa or Dido with the legend of Aeneas, for with him Dido is the foundress of Carthage, and Rome and Carthage are said by him to have been built in the same year.