14 Facts About Avitus


Avitus was a senator of Gallic extraction and a high-ranking officer both in the civil and military administration, as well as Bishop of Piacenza.


Avitus opposed the reduction of the Western Roman Empire to Italy alone, both politically and from an administrative point of view.


Avitus had a good relationship with the Visigoths, in particular with their king Theodoric II, who was a friend of his and who acclaimed Avitus Emperor.


Avitus was born in Clermont to a family of the Gallo-Roman nobility.


Avitus followed a course of study typical for a young man of his rank, including law.


Avitus then started a military career serving under the magister militum Aetius in his campaign against the Juthungi and the Norics and against the Burgundians.


Avitus stayed in Gaul for three months, to consolidate his power in the region that was the center of his support, and later went to Italy with a Gallic army, probably reinforced with a Gothic force.


Avitus probably travelled to Noricum to restore the imperial authority in that province, and then passed through Ravenna, where he left a Gothic force under the new patricius and magister militum Remistus, a Visigoth.


The effective power of Avitus depended on the support of all the major players in the Western Roman Empire in the mid-5th century.


The fact that the two courts did not agree on a couple of consuls but each nominated its own means that despite the efforts of Avitus to receive the recognition of the Eastern Emperor, the relationship between the two halves of the Empire was not optimal.


Avitus sent Ricimer to defend Sicily, and the Romans defeated the Vandals twice, once in a land battle near Agrigento and another in a naval battle off Corsica.


In 455, Avitus had sent an ambassador, comes Fronto, to the Suebi and then to Theodoric II to ask them to formally recognise Roman rule.


The imperial treasury was almost empty and, after disbanding his Visigoth guard because of popular pressure, Avitus was obliged to pay their huge wages by melting down and selling the bronze of some statues.


Avitus died in 457, or late in 456, very soon after his deposition, and was buried at Brioude, next to Saint Julian's tomb.