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According to Theodor Kraus, "The root of the word Pompeii would appear to be the Oscan word for the number five, pompe, which suggests that either the community consisted of five hamlets or, perhaps, it was settled by a family group (gens Pompeia)." The ruins of Pompeii are located near the modern suburban town of Pompei (nowadays written with one 'i').

It stands on a spur formed by a lava flow to the north of the mouth of the Sarno River (known in ancient times as the Sarnus).

Today it is some distance inland, but in ancient times was nearer to the coast.

Pompeii is about 8 km (5.0 mi) away from Mount Vesuvius.

It was fed with water by a spur from Aqua Augusta (Naples) built c.

20 BC by Agrippa; the main line supplied several other large towns, and finally the naval base at Misenum.

Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area, was mostly destroyed and buried under 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) of volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

Carbon dating has placed the oldest of these layers from the 8th–6th centuries BC (around the time the city was founded).

The other two strata are separated either by well-developed soil layers or Roman pavement, and were laid in the 4th century BC and 2nd century BC.

By the time of its destruction, 160 years later, its population was estimated at 11,000 people, and the city had a complex water system, an amphitheatre, a gymnasium, and a port.

The eruption destroyed the city, killing its inhabitants and burying it under tons of ash.

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