The Tales of Oil Well Fountains
Archeologists are apt to scandalize the story of the oil well fountains, mainly because little documentation even exists supporting its notion. The conclusion of this story is the most important part to this popular story.
The idea of the oil fountains begins with a story of oil flowing from the Taberan Meritoria in Trastevere without any interruption. Saint Jerome wrote that this was a sign that the grace of Christ would soon be upon the people. His note read as follows, “"Oil gushed from the Taberna Meritoria [hostel] in Trastevere and flowed all day without interruption, a sign that the grace of Christ had been sent upon the people".
This was considered to be a marvel that was a preempting the occurrence of great events to come. It inspired both fear and excitements in the ancient people. Saint Jerome was not the first author; he simply Christianized a story that had been handed down from older historians, roughly 200 years earlier, by Dio Cassius, who could have very well found his tale based on the works of previous authors as well.
Another writer, Paulus Orosius, explains the occurrence as an hour for Octavious-Augustus in Rome in 29 BC. His writing, probably influenced by St. Jerome, states "For the past few days a large stream of oil has been flowing from the Taberna Meritoria. What could be more obvious than that this sign, in the days of Augustus, ruler of all the earth, announces that Christ will soon be born? Indeed, the word Christ means ‘anointed with oil’ in the language of his people".