XENOPHANES of Colophon, the reputed founder of the Eleatic school of philosophy, is supposed to have been born in the third or fourth decade of the 6th century B.C. An exile from his Ionian home, he resided for a time in Sicily, at Zancle and at Catana, and afterwards established himself in southern Italy, at Elea, a Phocaean colony founded in the sixty-first Olympiad (536-533).
Harbour, a circular basin open on the north only, formed by a strip of land curving round like a sickle, from which it took its original name, Zancle KAov, or rather (W'yKXov, the Sicilian equivalent of the Greek S (..Eiravov, l according to Thucydides, vi.
Zancle was first founded, no doubt on the site of an earlier settlement, by pirates from Cumae, and again more regularly settled, after an unknown interval, by settlers from Cumae under Perieres, and from Chalcis under Crataemenes, in the first quarter of the 8th century B.C. Mylae must have been occupied as an outpost very soon afterwards, but the first regular colony of Zancle was Himera, founded in 648 B.C. After the capture of Miletus by the Persians in 494 B.C. Skythes, king of Zancle, invited the Ionians to come and settle at KaXrt 'AKT), then in the occupation of the Sicels (the modern Marina di Caronia, 25 m.
About 488 B.C. Anaxilas and the Samians occupied Zancle in the absence of Skythes, and it was then that the name was changed to Messene, as the existence of coins of the Samian type, bearing the new name, proves.
About 480, however, Anaxilas thoroughly established his authority at Messene, and the types of coinage introduced by him persevere down to about 396 B.C., 2 when Anaxilas himself zealously supported his son-in-law Terillus in inviting the Carthaginians' invasion of 480 B.C. In 426 the Athenians gained the alliance of Zancle, but soon lost it again, and failed to obtain it in 415.
After this the energy of Chalcis went onward to Sicily, and the states of the Corinthian Gulf carried out the colonization of Italy, Rhegium having been founded, it is true, by Chalcis, but after Messana (Zancle), and at the request of the inhabitants of the latter.
It was founded in 648 B.C. by the Chalcidian inhabitants of Zancle, in company with many Syracusan exiles.
Early in the 5th century the tyrant Terillas, son-in-law of Anaxilas of Rhegium and Zancle, appealed to the Carthaginians, who came to his assistance, but were utterly defeated by Gelon of Syracuse in 480 B.C. - on the same day, it is said, as the battle of Salamis.
But the form of the tombs always remains the same, a small low chamber hewn in the rock, with a rectangular opening about 2 by 22 ft., out of which open other chambers, each with its separate doorway; and inhumation is adopted without exception, whereas in a Greek necropolis a low percentage of cases of 1 Leontini, Megara, Naxos, Syracuse, Zancle are all recorded as sites where the Sicel gave way to the Greek (in regard to Syracuse [q.v.] this has recently been proved to be true), while many other towns remained Sicel longer, among them Abacaenum, Agyrium, Assorus, Centuripae, Cephaloedium, Engyum, Hadranum, Halaesa, Henna, Herbessus, Herbita, Hybla Galeatis, Inessa, Kale Akte, Menaenum, Morgantina.
At the north-east corner, opposite to Italy, and commanding the strait, arose Zancle, a city of uncertain date (first quarter of the 7th century B.C.) and mixed origin, better known as Messana (Messene, Messina).
Anaxilaus of Rhegium, by a long and strange tale of treachery, occupied Zancle and changed its name to Messana.