Marcus Maecilius Flavius Eparchius Avitus was born in 395 and was named Master of Soldiers by Emperor Petronius Maximus.
Petronius Maximus was born in 396 and was a roman aristocrat of senatorial rank. He gradually worked his way up the political ladder and arrived at the position of Consul in 433 and then went on to become the Praetorian Prefect of Italy in 439.
In 445 he became the most honoured of all non-imperial Romans when he was given the title Patrician until Aëtius stepped in. From that point in time there was great hostility between the two and while some records claim that it was only Valentinian who had Aëtius murdered in 454, other records show that Maximus was also behind the conspiracy.
After Valentinians’ death, Maximus would fight of several others for the position of power including Majorian who would eventually become emperor anyway.
It was Emperor Maximus who sent Avitus on a friendly mission to seek allegiance with Theodoric II, the King of the Visigoths. While having just sent soldiers led by Avitus out on an expedition to gain support from the Visigoths, it was heard that the King of the Vandals had invaded Italy and as a part of all the commotion that was stirred in Rome, Maximus was stoned to death.
Theodoric persuaded Avitus to take the place of the former emperor and by 455 his soldiers had proclaimed him emperor and he arrived back at Rome that year to make the claim official.
The roman people were never satisfied with Avitus as ruler and following a failed campaign against the Vandals and famine ravaging the empire a revolt was led by Ricimer and Majorian.
Avitus fled and attempted to raise an army with which to fight for his position bur was defeated and captured. Though his life was spared he attempted to escape to Gaul but he died on the way there.
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