Roman Emperor. He was born into a senatorial family in approximately 395 AD. He enjoyed a successful military and civil career and became Praetorian Prefect of Gaul in 439 AD. In 451 AD he used his long standing influence with the Visigoths to enlist their help in the defeat of Attila the Hun. In 455 AD he was appointed "Master of Soldiers in the Presence" by the Emperor Petronius Maximus and was sent as ambassador to the Visigoths, where he prevented a rebellion by their chieftains. After Maximus died in the Vandal sack of Rome in 455 AD he was encouraged to become Emperor by the Gothic king Theodoric and was soon declared ruler in Gaul and recognized by the Senate in Rome. The Vandals under Geiseric launched a series of naval attacks against Sicily but were heavily defeated by Avitus' general Ricimer. He was blamed for a famine that hit Rome during his reign and was forced by the mob to dismiss his Gothic bodyguards. He paid them off with money raised from selling off bronze fittings from public works and this provoked a revolt which won the support of the generals Majorian and Ricimer. He was forced to leave Rome in 456 AD and fled for Gaul. On his way there he was confronted by Majorian and Ricimer and made to resign his office. He was then forcibly consecrated Bishop of Piacenza and died soon after while taking offerings to the Basilica of St. Julian in an attempt to prevent a feared assassination attempt by the Senate. His body was carried to the Basilica and buried near the tomb of St. Julian.
Bio by: js