Zanclus is the legendary first king of the Sicilian city of Messina
Messina, Italy
Messina is the third largest city on the island of Sicily, Italy and the capital of the province of Messina. It has a population of about 250,000 inhabitants in the city proper and about 650,000 in the province...

. He is mentioned in an etiological
Etiology is the study of causation, or origination. The word is derived from the Greek , aitiologia, "giving a reason for" ....

 passage by Diodorus of Sicily
Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian who flourished between 60 and 30 BC. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily . With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus' life and doings beyond what is to be found in his own work, Bibliotheca...

, and has become a symbol of Messina. In modern Italian, the form is given as Zanclo.

Gegenus is recorded as the father of Zanclus.Diodorus writes of Zanclus as the supposed eponym
An eponym is the name of a person or thing, whether real or fictitious, after which a particular place, tribe, era, discovery, or other item is named or thought to be named...

 of "Zancle" (the ancient name for Messina). The giant Orion
Orion (mythology)
Orion was a giant huntsman in Greek mythology whom Zeus placed among the stars as the constellation of Orion....

 is said to have helped Zanclus in building the city and the harbor.

Zanclus has been identified with the male "Grifone" figure of Messina's traditional Mata e Grifone procession. The earliest records, by Francesco Maurolico
Francesco Maurolico
Francesco Maurolico was a Greek mathematician and astronomer of Sicily. Throughout his lifetime, he made contributions to the fields of geometry, optics, conics, mechanics, music, and astronomy...

, record only one the male figure, and associate it with Zanclus. When Zanclus is identified with the male figure in modern times, his female partner is identified as the Titaness Rhea
Rhea (mythology)
Rhea was the Titaness daughter of Uranus, the sky, and Gaia, the earth, in Greek mythology. She was known as "the mother of gods". In earlier traditions, she was strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, the Great Goddess, and was later seen by the classical Greeks as the mother of the Olympian...


Stephanus of Byzantium
Stephanus of Byzantium
Stephen of Byzantium, also known as Stephanus Byzantinus , was the author of an important geographical dictionary entitled Ethnica...

also wrote about Zanclus, and gave the form of the name as Ζάγκλη.
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