Vergil’s Aeneid is based on the Roman legend that Rome derived ultimately from the ancient, lost civilization of Troy. When Troy fell to the Greeks, the prince [url=]Aeneas (son of the Trojan prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite) fled with some family and followers; wandered around the Mediterranean for a while; finally settled on the west coast of central Italy, was welcomed as an ally by Latinus, king of the Latins; founded the city of Lavinium; fathered Ascanius, a/k/a Iulus, who was the founder and first king of Alba Longa (and purported ancestor of Rome’s patrician gens of the Julians, including Caesar the Dictator); and, finally, he was the direct ancestor of Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome.
What I want to know is: Did the Romans always believe that? Did they believe it before they came into cultural contact with the Greeks and started reading the Iliad? Did they believe it in the early Republic, or under the rule of the kings? If not, when and how did they acquire this belief?