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Avitus was in turn overthrown ( but not killed ) by his own master of the soldiers, Ricimer, who was responsible for both the installation and removal of Majorian and of Libius Severus, the removal of Anthemius ( installed as the Eastern Emperor's candidate ), and the installation of Olybrius – husband of Valentinian III's daughter ( and Petronius Maximus's stepdaughter ) Placidia, and loosely a member of the Theodosian dynasty.
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Avitus and was
His mother Julia Avita Mamaea was the second daughter of Julia Maesa and Syrian noble Julius Avitus and maternal aunt of Emperor Elagabalus.
His grandmother Julia Maesa was the widow of the Consul Julius Avitus, the sister of Julia Domna, and the sister-in-law of emperor Septimius Severus.
Born Varius Avitus Bassianus on May 16, 205, known later as M. Aurelius Antonius, he was appointed at an early age to be priest of the sun God, Elagabalus, represented by a phallus, by which name he is known to historians ( his name is sometimes written " Heliogabalus ").
At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Avitus without colleague ( or, less frequently, year 1209 Ab urbe condita ).
After Petronius, the Gallic-Roman senator Avitus was proclaimed Emperor by the Visigoth king Theodoric II and ruled for two years, then was deposed by Majorian, who ruled for four years, before being killed by his general Ricimer ( 461 ).
He married Julia Soaemias, and was the supposed father of Varius Avitus Bassianus, the later Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, better known as Elagabalus.
Meanwhile Hormisdas reported to Avitus of Vienne that an additional number of Balkan bishops had entered into relations with Rome, and Bishop John of Nicopolis, who was also the archbishop of Epirus, had broken communion with Constantinople and resumed it with Rome.
It is not known if Majorian expected to succeed him ; the new Emperor was, in fact, the Gallic-Roman noble Avitus, who had the support of the Visigoths.
Then Ricimer defeated Avitus ' troops near Placentia, taking prisoner the Emperor himself, who was obliged to abdicate.
Avitus was dead and the Western throne without a pretender ; the Eastern Roman Emperor was to choose the successor, but Marcian could not do anything, as he died on January 27, 457.
But the general chosen by the army was the only viable candidate to the throne: the Eastern court was not displeased with the deposition of Avitus, an Emperor chosen by the Visigoths ; on the other side, the only other candidate, Olybrius, had a politically difficult relationship with the Vandal king Genseric, and no influence on the army.
With the intercession of Majorian ' magister epistolarum Petrus, Sidonius Apollinaris, the son-in-law of Avitus, was allowed to deliver a panegyric in honour of the Emperor ( early January 459 ), receiving in reward the appointment to the rank of comes spectabilis.
Avitus, the predecessor of Majorian on the imperial throne, had alienated the Roman senatorial aristocracy support appointing members of Gallo-Roman aristocracy, which he was part of, to the most important offices of the imperial administration.
When Majorian took the power deposing Avitus, the province of Gaul, where Avitus ' power was based, did not recognise the new Emperor.
The fate of Avitus had been marked by the betrayal of Ricimer and of Majorian and by the dismissal of his German guard, so the fate of Majorian himself was decided by the disbandment of his army and a plot organised by Ricimer.
Avernia was isolated from the rest of the Empire and governed by Ecdicius, son of Emperor Avitus, while the territory later included in the so-called Domain of Soissons was located further north.
Eparchius Avitus ( c. 385 – after 17 October 456 or in 457 ) was Western Roman Emperor from 8 or 9 July 455 to 17 October 456.
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, but the possibility of a strong and useful alliance between Visigoths and Romans ended when Theodoric invaded Roman Hispania and then refused to help Avitus against the rebel Roman generals who deposed him.
Avitus and killed
First Majorian and Ricimer killed Remistus, the magister militum entrusted by Avitus with the defence of the capital, Ravenna.
Ricimer went to meet Majorian with a military detachment ; the magister militum met the Emperor near Tortona ( not far from Piacenza, where Avitus had been killed ), and had him arrested and deposed ( August 3 ).
Avitus and by
* 456 – Battle of Placentia: Ricimer, supported by Majorian ( comes domesticorum ), defeats near Piacenza ( Northern Italy ) the Roman usurper Avitus.
* 456 – The Visigoths under king Theodoric II, acting on orders of the Roman emperor Avitus, invade Spain with an army of Burgundians, Franks and Goths, led by the kings Chilperic I and Gondioc.
The last indication that the Goths whose king reigned at Toulouse considered themselves Vesi is found in a panegyric on Avitus by Sidonius Apollinaris dated 1 January 456.
* July 9 – Avitus is proclaimed Roman emperor at Toulouse, and later recognised by the Gallic chiefs in Viernum ( near Arles ).
* October 5 – The Visigoths under king Theodoric II, acting on orders of Avitus, invade Spain with an army of Burgundians, Franks and Goths, led by their kings Chilperic I and Gondioc.
* October 17 – Battle of Placentia: Ricimer, supported by Majorian ( comes domesticorum ), defeats near Piacenza ( Northern Italy ) the usurper Avitus.
This hypothesis is further strengthened by the fact that Anthemius ' prestige misled the 6th century historian John Malalas to state that Marcian had actually designated Anthemius as Western Emperor after Avitus.
Here he lived until 451, when the Huns, led by Attila, invaded the Western Roman Empire ; Avitus persuaded Theodoric into an alliance with Rome, and the combined forces of Theodoric and Aetius defeated Attila in the Battle of Châlons ; Theodoric died in the battle.
In the late spring of 455, Avitus was recalled to service by emperor Petronius Maximus and was elevated to the rank of magister militum, probably praesentalis ; Maximus sent Avitus in an embassy to the court of Theodoric II, who had succeeded to his father, at Toulouse: this embassy probably confirmed to the new king and his people the condition of foederati of the Empire and asked for their support to the new Emperor.
While Avitus was at Theodoric's court, news came of the death of Petronius Maximus ( 22 May ) and of the sack of Rome by the Vandals of Gaiseric.
Avitus and own
A relative of his, Theodorus, was hostage at the court of the King of Visigoths, Theodoric I: in 425 / 426 Avitus went and met him, thus meeting the King, who let Avitus enter his own court.
However, his consulate sine collega ( without a second Consul ) was not recognised by the Eastern court, which nominated two consuls, Iohannes and Varanes: the fact that the two courts did not agree on a couple of consuls but each nominated its own means that, despite Avitus ' actions to receive the recognition of the Eastern Emperor the relationship between the two halves was not optimal.
Avitus ' own efforts secured a temporary winter truce with them ; but in March 456, Vandals destroyed Capua.
During Avitus ' reign, the Visigoths expanded into Hispania, nominally under Roman authorisation but actually in their own interests.
The contemporary historian Hydatius, who lived in Spain, considered the year 457 the third of Avitus ' reign ; Avitus ' own intentions are not known ; nor are the manner and date of his death, of which there are several versions.
Avitus and master
* 456 – Magister militum Ricimer defeats Emperor Avitus at Piacenza and becomes master of the Western Roman Empire.
Petronius Maximus was succeeded by his master of the soldiers, Avitus, who was acclaimed at Tolosa with the backing of the Visigothic king, Theodoric II.