Avitus was the leading commander under Petronius Maximus and was elevated to the throne when Maximus was killed. He held on to power for almost a year before the citizens of Rome revolted over one of the now-common food shortages. Taking advantage of the unrest, the general Ricimer and his aide Majorian mutinied and Avitus fled towards Gaul, which is where his main powerbase was. However, the forces of Ricimer caught up with him and his entourage was defeated. Avitus attempted to gain sanctuary in a nearby temple but Ricimer laid siege to it until Avitus either committed suicide or starved to death.
RIC 2401 Solidus Obv: DNAVITVSPERPFAVG - Diademed (rosettes), draped and cuirassed bust right. Rev: VICTORIAAVGGG Exe: A/R/COMOB - Avitus standing right, stepping on captive, holding cross and Victory on globe. 455-456 (Arelate). $24,000 1/13/03.