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Ecdicius Avitus (c. 420 – after 475) was a Gallo-Roman aristocrat and senator, magister militum praesentalis from 474 until 475.

As a son of the Emperor Avitus, Ecdicius was educated at Augustonemetum (modern Clermont-Ferrand), where he lived and owned some land. In the 460s he was one of the richest and most important persons in the western Empire and he was present at the court of Anthemius until 469.

Ecdicius and his brother-in-law Sidonius Apollinaris, the Bishop of Clermont, took charge of the defence of the Auvergne between 471 and 474 against the aggression of the Visigoths. The Visigothic king Euric besieged many cities, but Ecdicius, with a private army of horsemen paid for out of his own wealth, brought provisions to those cities, lifted their sieges, and fed a multitude of poor.[1] According to legend, Ecdicius private warband consisted of only ten or eighteen men.

Ecdicius also obtained the submission of Chilperic II of Burgundy on behalf of the Empire.

In 471 Anthemius sent an army into Gaul under the command of his son Anthemiolus to attack the Visigoths, but he was defeated near Arles and in 473 the Visigoths had captured Arles and Marseille and were threatening Italia itself. Ecdicius, elevated to the rank of patrician by the new emperor Julius Nepos and invested with the title magister militum praesentialis, had just begun the fight to remove the Visigoths from Provence when, in 475, he was recalled to Italy by Julius and Flavius Orestes was sent in his place in Gaul.[2] The emperor then promptly exchanged the Auvergne for Provence and gave the Visigoths what they had long been requesting.

Ecdicius probably fled the Auvergne and took refuge among the Burgundians after that. Some letters of Cassiodorus (Epistulae 2.4, 22) suggest that he survived into the early years of the sixth century. He was the father of Avitus of Vienne.

Sources

  • Bachrach, Bernard S. Merovingian Military Organization, 481–751. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1971.
  • Jones, A. H. M.; Martindale, J. R.; Morris, J. Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire. vol. 2, pp 395–527. Cambridge, 1971–1992.
  • Gregory of Tours. Historia Francorum. translated Earnest Brehaut, 1916.
  • Christian Settipani, Les Ancêtres de Charlemagne (France: Éditions Christian, 1989).
  • Christian Settipani, Continuite Gentilice et Continuite Familiale Dans Les Familles Senatoriales Romaines A L'epoque Imperiale, Mythe et Realite, Addenda I - III (juillet 2000- octobre 2002) (n.p.: Prosopographica et Genealogica, 2002).

Notes

  1. ^ Gregory, II.24. Bachrach, 16.
  2. ^ Jordanes, 240f
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