Anaxilas was master of Rhegium in 494 BC, when he encouraged the Samians and other Ionian fugitives to seize Zancle, a city across the strait in Sicily which was then under the rule of the tyrant Scythes. Shortly after the Samian takeover, Anaxilas besieged the city himself, drove the Samians out, peopled it with fresh inhabitants, and changed its name to Messana, after his native Messene.
Anaxilas married Cydippe, daughter of Terillus, tyrant of Himera. In 480 he obtained the assistance of the Carthaginians for his father-in-law, who had been expelled from his city by Theron, tyrant of Agrigentum. It was this auxiliary army that Gelo defeated at Himera. Anaxilas wanted to destroy the Locrians, but was prevented by Hiero I of Syracuse, as related by Epicharmus.
Anaxilas' daughter was married to Hiero. Anaxilaus died in 476, leaving Micythus guardian of his children. These gained control of their inheritance only in 467, when Leophron became tyrant. However, in 461 the new rulers were removed by a popular revolt of both the citizens of Rhegium and Messana.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1870). "Anaxilaus". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.