3. L. Cornelius
Merula, was flamen dialis, and, on the deposition of L. Cinna in B. C. 87, was elected consul in his place. [CORNELIUS CINNA, No. 2.] On the return of Marius from exile in the same year Merula was summoned to take his trial for illegally exercising the consulship. (Plut. Quaest. Rom.
He had already resigned it, but his condemnation was certain. Merula therefore anticipated his sentence by opening his veins in the sanctuary of the Capitoline Jupiter.
Before he inflicted his death-wounds he carefully laid aside his official head-dress (apex), and left a record in writing that he had not profaned by death the sacred emblem of his pontificate. His last breath was spent in imprecating curses on his murderers, Cinna and Marius.
The priesthood of the flamen dialis was not filled up until 72 years after Merula's death. (Appian, App. BC 1, 65
; Vell. 2.20, 22; Flor. 3.21.61
; V. Max. 9.12.5
; D. C. 54.36
; Tac. Ann. 3.58
; Plut. Mar. 41
; Plut. Quaest. Rom.
40; Diod. apud Val. Fr.;
August. de Civ. Dei,
3.27; Dict. of Antiq. s. v. Flamen.