As with other classical Latin poetry, the meter is based on the length of syllables rather than the stress, though the interplay of meter and stress is also important. Virgil also incorporated such poetic devices as alliteration, onomatopoeia, synecdoche, and assonance. Furthermore, he uses personification, metaphor and simile in his work, usually to add drama and tension to the scene. An example of a simile can be found in book II when Aeneas is compared to a shepherd who stood on the high top of a rock unaware of what is going on around him. It can be seen that just as the shepherd is a protector of his sheep, so too is Aeneas to his people.
As was the rule in classical antiquity, an author's style was seen as an expression of his personality and character. Virgil's Latin has been praised for its evenness, subtlety and dignity.
The Aeneid, like other classical epics, is written in dactylic hexameters: each line consists of six metrical feet made up of dactyls (one long syllable followed by two short syllables) and spondees (two long syllables). This epic consists of twelve books, and the narrative is broken up into three sections of four books each, respectively addressing Dido; the Trojans' arrival in Italy; and the war with the Latins. Each book has about 1,000 lines. The Aeneid comes to an abrupt ending, and scholars have speculated that Virgil died before he could finish the poem.