Serena Williams, of the United States, serves to Karolina Pliskova, of the Czech Republic, during the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)NEW YORK (AP) — Serena Williams began her U.S. Open quarterfinal tentatively. Her shots lacked their usual sting, her attitude its usual conviction.She was facing the last player she lost to at Flushing Meadows. She kept looking up her coach, as if seeking solutions. After just 20 minutes Tuesday night, Williams was in danger of trailing by two service breaks. Not much later, the outcome was no longer in doubt, because the 23-time Grand Slam champion suddenly was in complete control.Williams put aside some early shakiness and an early deficit, turning things around with an eight-game run en route to a 6-4, 6-3 victory over No. 8 seed Karolina Pliskova for a spot in the semifinals. It was Williams’ first win over a top-10 player this season.“I was playing really not a good game,” said Williams, who was a point from trailing 4-1 and did fall behind 4-2 while making 22 of her 30 unforced errors in the first set. “I was thinking, ‘You know, I can play better.’ So that was the good news.”Pliskova offered this guess about what was happening to Williams: “Maybe she was a little bit nervous.”Maybe. But that didn’t last long.Pliskova is a big server and hitter in her own right, someone who briefly spent time at No. 1 in the WTA rankings and was the runner-up at the U.S. Open in 2016, when she beat Williams in the semifinals. The 36-year-old American did not compete in New York a year ago, because she gave birth to her daughter during the tournament.Go back to 2015, and that was another semifinal departure for Williams, whose bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam was shockingly ended by Roberta Vinci.“Well, I want to just be able to get past the semis here. It’s been a few, couple, rough semis for me,” Williams said. “But regardless, this has been a great road.”This time, Williams’ semifinal opponent will be No. 19 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, who surprisingly beat defending champion Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-3 earlier Tuesday.Stephens, who said she had been dealing with a sinus infection, rued all of her wasted opportunities, most notably the seven break points she failed to convert in the first set. She sure didn’t attempt to hide her frustration, either, repeatedly gesturing toward or speaking in the direction of her coach, Kamau Murray, up in the stands.When someone urged her to raise her level in the second set, Stephens replied, “I’m trying!”“When you don’t play big points well, the match can get away from you,” Stephens said. “I think that’s what happened today. I didn’t convert.”Sevastova, who retired in 2013 because of injuries and returned nearly two years later, advanced to her first Slam semifinal.“Still long way to go, I think,” she said.Especially considering that the next step will come against Williams, who’s heading into her 36th semi at a major, 12th at Flushing Meadows.Williams already proved at Wimbledon that she is capable of the sort of dominant performances she has shown over the years, making all the way to the final at the All England Club before losing. She’ll hope to do one better now and claim a seventh U.S. Open title.Her sluggish start against Pliskova came in the same 90-degree heat and 50-percent humidity that hampered John Isner in his quarterfinal loss to Juan Martin del Potro on Tuesday afternoon, and Roger Federer in his fourth-round exit against John Millman a night earlier and prompted the tournament to suspend play in junior matches for a few hours. It also made things tough on No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 9 Dominic Thiem during their 4-hour, 49-minute tussle that ended just past 2 a.m. on Wednesday, with Nadal pulling out the 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) victory to return to the semifinals.With her older sister, Venus — the woman she beat in the third round — in her guest box, Williams looked tight. Her timing was off. She put a backhand into the net to get broken to 2-1 at the outset. Then, down 3-1, she faced three break points; if Pliskova won any, she would have led 4-1. But Pliskova did not manage to put any of Williams’ serves in play on those key points.“Too strong,” Pliskova said.Soon after that, Williams went from trailing 4-2 to not only taking the first set but also leading 4-0 in the second.By the end, Williams compiled a 13-3 edge in aces, and 35-12 in total winners.“She’s playing with the same power. She can still serve well. I don’t think there’s any change with her game,” Pliskova said. “She’s just going for her shots.”
More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed FiveThirtyEight Embed Code Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (May 16, 2017), FiveThirtyEight’s Kyle Wagner helps us make sense of one of the latest developments in the NBA playoffs: the ankle injury that forced Kawhi Leonard to miss Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. Can the San Antonio Spurs beat the Golden State Warriors without him? Next, Derek Jeter’s No. 2 jersey was retired by the New York Yankees on Sunday. We debate whether Jeter’s career was as great as the Yankees like to think it was. Finally, the prevailing wisdom is that playing at home during the playoffs matters — but is that true across all sports? We discuss. Plus, a significant digit on softball.Here are links to what we discussed:The Warriors’ Zaza Pachulia stepped on Leonard’s foot in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, injuring Leonard. Was Pachulia’s play dirty, accidental or both? The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman investigates.The Washington Post’s Neil Greenberg argues that the Spurs cannot beat the Warriors without Leonard.In 2014, Neil Paine found that Derek Jeter wasn’t clutch — he was just good.Last week, Neil discovered that a home playoff game can be a big advantage — but not in hockey.Earlier this year, FiveThirtyEight found that coaches’ yelling at refs actually works.Significant Digit: 1 — the ranking of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, the top ranked college softball team in the nation, according to a new coaches poll released this week. Despite this, the NCAA tournament’s selection committee said the Gophers did not deserve one of the tourney’s top 16 seeds.
Nap Lajoie1901, 1904, 1906451916 Frank Bolling1964231961 *Inverse rank is a player’s ranking from the bottom of the league (i.e., No. 1 represents the worst player in baseball by WAR)Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs Tris Speaker1912, 1914, 1916471907 Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels is the most feared hitter of his generation — one of the greatest ever to step into a batter’s box. He ranks eighth all-time in home runs, seventh in extra-base hits and 10th in total bases. At his peak, he won three MVP awards and was also the best position player in baseball — according to wins above replacement (WAR)1Taking the average of Baseball-Reference.com’s and FanGraphs.com’s versions of WAR. — three times (in 2006, 2008 and 2009). Pujols’s resume makes him a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer.But this season, a new title can be assigned to Pujols: He’s the worst player in baseball.Pujols has flat-out stunk up Angel Stadium. He’s hitting .230 (79 points below his previous career average) with an on-base plus slugging 26 percent worse than league average. Even in an age of ineffective designated hitters, Pujols has easily been the worst hitter at the position that provides the least defensive value (i.e., zero value). As a result, no player has been less valuable than Pujols this year: His -1.99 WAR ranks dead last among all players (including pitchers).If he finishes the season in last place — which seems quite possible, as L.A. continues to pencil him into its starting lineup, day after day, despite his poor numbers — Pujols will become the first modern2Since MLB’s two-league era began in 1901. position player ever to be both baseball’s best and worst player at various points in his career. The worst finish by a former No. 1 player previously belonged to the delightfully named New York Yankees second baseman Snuffy Stirnweiss. Snuffy was baseball’s top position player in 1945, when many of the league’s best (such as Ted Williams, Stan Musial and Joe DiMaggio) were serving in the military. But he was also the league’s second-worst player in 1950, a miserable season that saw him hit .216 and get traded from the 98-win Yankees to the 58-win St. Louis Browns.Here are the worst finishes by WAR for position players who were also the best in baseball at some point in their career: From the penthouse to the outhouseWorst ranks (from the bottom of MLB) in wins above replacement for players who were best in the league for at least one season, 1901–2017 Bill McKechnie1913321914 WORST SEASON PLAYERNO. 1 SEASONSINV. RANK*YEAR Adam Dunn2011232004 Jim Rice1978341989 Pete Rose198341973 Fred Lynn1979501990 George Sisler1918311926 Mel Ott193871946 Albert Pujols2006, 2008, 200912017 Obviously, it isn’t good to take two wins away from a club’s ledger, relative to what it could’ve gotten from a minimum-salary scrub. That’s especially true for the Angels, who are a single game in back of the Minnesota Twins for the American League’s final wild-card berth and fighting for their postseason lives. But in a funny way, Pujols’ last-place ranking this year is also a kind of testament to how good he’s been over the course of his long, storied career.The bottom of the WAR leaderboard provides a good lesson in the difference between “ability” and “value”. Ability-wise, Pujols isn’t actually MLB’s worst baseball player — that distinction would probably go to a fringe player who was called up at midseason and rarely plays — but he has been its least valuable, in no small part because of the ample opportunities he’s received.3Pujols is third on the team in plate appearances. Simply being bad isn’t enough; in order to even get the chance to finish last in WAR, a player needs to have earned the confidence from management to let him play through a prolonged slump.That’s why, even though no former No. 1 player has sunk as low as Pujols this season, the list of league-worst players by WAR includes plenty of guys who were, at one point, extremely good at baseball. Most notably, the worst player in 1983 was the all-time hit king, Pete Rose, who — unlike Pujols — was eventually benched by the Phillies because of his poor play. PLAYERLAST-PLACE SEASONRANKYEAR(S) Rickey Henderson1985, 1989, 1990321979 Ted Simmons1984101978 Billy Urbanski1935321934 Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs Ernie Banks1959381971 Albert Pujols201712006, 2008, 2009 Bobby Byrne1908121910 Alex Rodriguez2000, 2005, 2007102016 Alexei Ramirez2016252010 Lou Gehrig1934, 1936501939 Al Rosen1953331949 Jimmie Foxx1932, 1933491944 Lee Magee1917231918 Willie Keeler1907151904 Milt Stock1924151919 Snuffy Stirnweiss194521950 Even the worst players used to be goodBest ranks (from the top of MLB) in wins above replacement for players who ranked last in WAR in a season, 1901–2017 George Scott1968131973 Derek Jeter1999422013 Marquis Grissom2005101994 Ken Griffey1996222010 In addition to Pujols, there are a few other names on this year’s worst-players list who peaked as stars not too long ago. Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies, the second-worst player this season, ranked as high as No. 15 in 2010. Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez fell from 10th-best in 2009 all the way to sixth-worst this season. And Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, who clocks in as baseball’s 26th-worst player by WAR this year, ranked third-best as recently as 2011. It takes a great reputation to be afforded such a bad season.Since signing a massive contract with the Angels before the 2012 season, Pujols has had a few solid renaissance seasons, and he was an above-average hitter as recently as last season. So it wasn’t unreasonable for the Angels to expect him to eventually snap out of his funk at some point this season. And he may well end up with 100 runs batted in despite the poor sabermetric numbers — though it would be one of the least valuable 100-RBI seasons ever. Either way, he’s just the most glaring example of a phenomenon that probably won’t go away anytime soon. As long as there are managers dreaming of a turnaround — and ones who lack any better options4Pujols’ contract, which will pay him another $28.5 million per year for the next four seasons, may also play a role. — once-great players like Pujols will always get the chance to play themselves to the bottom of the WAR charts. BEST SEASON Mickey Doolin1918251910
Redshirt-freshman tight end Marcus Baugh makes a catch during fall practice Aug. 6 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Baugh has been suspended twice in his Buckeye career by coach Urban Meyer.Credit: Tim Moody / Sports editorOhio State redshirt-freshman tight end Marcus Baugh has been suspended, coach Urban Meyer said Monday.Baugh, who has yet to appear in a game for OSU, was suspended two games for what Meyer called “stuff” during a Monday press conference.Baugh did not make the trip to Baltimore for OSU’s game against Navy Saturday and will not suit up for the Buckeyes’ game against Virginia Tech, which is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday.This marks the second time Baugh has been suspended by Meyer. He was arrested in July 2013 for underage possession/consumption of alcohol and displaying improper identification. He missed the 2013 season opener against Buffalo before eventually redshirting.Baugh was cited again in January for underage consumption, but participated in spring practice.
Nebraska senior wide reciever De’Mornay Pierson El (15) evades an Arkansas State defender. Credit: Courtesy of Hannah DePriest | The Daily NebraskanLocation: Lincoln, Nebraska2016 record: 9-4 (6-3 Big Ten)Head coach: Mike Riley2017 record so far: 1-1Record vs. OSU since 2007: 1-4What has happened thus far in 2017There has been no shortage of scoring for Nebraska and coach Mike Riley in the first two weeks of their season. In Week 1, Nebraska fought off a second-half surge by Arkansas State to win 43-36 in the final seconds. The script was flipped in Week 2 when Nebraska traveled to Oregon and trailed the Ducks for most of the game, only to see its second-half comeback fall short, 42-35. Impact playerIt’s difficult to find a more dangerous player on Nebraska’s roster than senior wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El. Pierson-El has recorded six catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns so far this year. The former freshman All-American at punt returner ranks third among active players in the country in career punt-return yardage. After an electrifying freshman campaign in 2014, Pierson-El sustained a knee injury that appeared to slow his production in his next two seasons. The versatile weapon is poised to return to form at full health and replace the production lost by graduated receiver Jordan Westerkamp, while continuing to be a mainstay in the return game. StrengthsThe Huskers’ backfield houses two very different playmakers in junior quarterback Tanner Lee and sophomore running back Tre Bryant. Lee has stepped in to replace longtime quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. and has shown flashes of why he was a highly touted transfer from Tulane. Lee has thrown for 490 yards and five touchdowns on the season. Bryant has 299 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 51 carries. WeaknessesNebraska’s defensive efforts have not exactly been encouraging this season for new defensive coordinator Bob Diaco. Giving up 78 points in two games might be somewhat of an outlier due to playing two nonconference opponents with up-tempo offenses, but Nebraska has still allowed six touchdowns and 780 yards this season through the air. The secondary has been scrambling since senior cornerback Chris Jones tore his meniscus in July. Jones was honorable mention All-Big Ten last season.
A Jack Russell is prepared for a surgical procedureCredit:Getty A pet is prepared for a surgical procedureCredit:Getty Last month, a photo capturing the tender moment a dying cat ‘held its owner’s hand’ on a final trip to vet when viral. There is also a new dedicated dental suite to care for the 80 per cent of animals who arrive at the home with problem teeth. Claire Horton, Chief Executive of Battersea, said: “For 156 years Battersea has been on the front line of animal care, caring for the many thousands of abandoned and neglected dogs and cats who come through our gates who so desperately need our help. Veterinary staff prepare to sedate an Akita dogCredit:Getty Brand new intensive care areas and sound-proofed recovery wards with separate space for dogs and cats will allow for a ‘peaceful and calm recovery’. A kitten is prepared for surgeryCredit:Getty A dog is prepared for surgery Credit:Getty The Duchess of Cornwall, who has two Battersea dogs, was there to officially open the charity’s new hospital last month. The terrier after surgery Credit:Getty Veterinary staff fit a breathing tube to an Akita dogCredit:Getty The new Veterinary Hospital, which opened on September 7, has three operating theatres, enabling staff to perform over 100 operations per week. “Our new Veterinary Hospital and Centre of Excellence will help us realise our ambition to help more dogs and cats and not just those within our centres, as this world-leading facility will enable us to welcome and train staff from rescue and rehoming organisations all over the world. Senior Theatre Nurse Rebecca Smith carries out a procedure on a cat Credit:Getty “The new Veterinary Hospital is a place of transformation and hope where even the most neglected and abused dogs and cats can be put back on four paws by our dedicated staff before they are found a new loving home. We look forward to an exciting future working to transform the wellbeing of dogs and cats across the UK and beyond.” These pet photos capture what cats and dogs go through before, during and after surgery at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Shaun Opperman, Battersea’s Veterinary Director for the last 24 years, added: “Our new facilities will speed up treatment and recovery to give each and every rescue dog and cat a chance of a new life as quickly as possible.” A kitten at the animal hospital Credit:Getty A Staffordshire Bull Terrier undergoes surgeryCredit:Getty Meanwhile, here’s the touching moment girl says final goodbye to her dying pet dog. From a Staffordshire Bull Terrier recovering from an operation to a tiny kitten being prepared for surgery, the images show an average day at the new Veterinary Hospital and Centre of Excellence Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Parkview Residential Care Home in Bexleyheath, south-east London, was found to have an “infestation of Oriental cockroaches” during an August inspectionFindings from Food Standards Agency They include Parkview Residential Care Home in Bexleyheath, south-east London, which was found to have an “infestation of Oriental cockroaches” during an August inspection. Ivy House Care home in Littleover, Derby, received the same score rating after inspectors found a rat’s nest and droppings in the kitchen.Managers of the home were warned that staff and residents with dementia could have been exposed to Weil’s disease, the most severe form of the bacterial disease leptospirosis, which can lead to organ failure, bleeding and can be fatal.A spokeswoman for Ivy House in Derby said the negative food hygiene report related to an outbuilding where food was not prepared. Bexley Council said managers of Parkview Residential Care Home in Bexleyheath acted swiftly on its problems, which were later resolved. Four children’s nurseries – Little Care Bearz Nursery, in Birmingham, Glory Day Nursery, Barking, Stay and Play at Millbrook Primary School, Newport received the worst rating. So did Fairy Tales Day Nursery, in Glen Parva, Leicestershire, which has since been closed and taken over by another firm following a mouse infestation.Some 187 health and care organisations received a score of one out of five, meaning that major improvement was needed, the investigation by the Press Association found.Of those three – West Heath Hospital Birmingham, Luton and Dunstable University Hospital and the private Priory Hospital in Altrincham, Cheshire – were hospital premises. The Food Standards Agency found nine hospitals with poor hygiene ratings for all or part of their promises Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. A further 205 health and care organisations, including six hospitals and around 100 care homes were given a score of two.At West Heath Hospital in Birmingham, inspectors found out-of-date food, meat being frozen against instructions, and dirt in the kitchens. Several hospitals were found to be serving food past its use-by date, or making up their own use-by systems, creating a “high risk” of food poisoning, inspectors warned.A FSA spokesperson said: “An overwhelming majority, almost 99 per cent, of hospitals and other care providers achieve a food hygiene rating of ‘3 – generally satisfactory’ or better. The food safety officer from the local authority will be taking the necessary action to ensure that the issues identified at caring premises with a lower rating are addressed and that vulnerable people are not put at risk.” Funding cuts mean hospitals and care homes are already stretched Credit:Telegraph Nine hospitals currently have poor food hygiene ratings for all or part of their premises. They are:West Heath Hospital, Birmingham – ranked oneThe Priory Hospital, Cheshire – ranked oneLuton and Dunstable Hospital – ranked oneGlenfield Hospital, Leicester – ranked two in inspections of its L’Eat restaurant, patient service kitchens, Bennion centre for the elderly and Bradgate mental health unitRoyal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham – ranked twoWoodbourne Priory Hospital, Birmingham – ranked twoBronllys Hospital, Powys – ranked twoPinehill private hospital, Hertfordshire – ranked twoPriory Group, Suffolk – ranked two Hospitals and care homes are serving out-of-date food, in premises infested with cockroaches and rats, an investigation has found.Meals are being prepared in mouldy kitchens, putting vulnerable patients at “high risk” of food poisoning, while others have unclean worktops, food trolleys and sinks.Some 400 hospitals, hospices, care homes, nurseries and school clubs are currently listed as needing “major”, “urgent” or “necessary” improvement.One care home was found to be infested with cockroaches and another ridden with rats while hospitals were found to be serving up out-of date food from kitchens full of flies.Katherine Murphy, head of the Patients Association, said findings were “shameful” and “immensely worrying,” and showed the health of the most vulnerable being put at risk.The investigation analysed food hygiene reports from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) – which rates organisations and businesses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from zero to five.Overall, eight health and care premises were found to have a zero rating, denoting that urgent improvement was required.
Police forensics officers by the outhouse where the well is locatedCredit: Kostas Metaxakis/Athena Pictures Human remains found in a well in Crete belong to a British student who went missing more than 11 years ago, police have confirmed.Steve Cook, 20, disappeared while holidaying in Malia with school friends in the Greek resort in September 2005.The Liverpool FC fan, originally from Sandbach, Cheshire, was last seen in a bar asking for directions to his hotel but he walked off in the wrong direction. “The remains were removed from the site and taken to a nearby hospital for further forensic examination. Tests have been carried out and we have now received confirmation from the Greek authorities that the remains belong to Steven Cook, who went missing on 1st September 2005 during a holiday to the island.”Steven’s family have been kept fully updated on the developments and are currently being supported by Cheshire officers. They have been provided with support since Steven first went missing and this will continue over the coming weeks. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The well where the remains of a body have been discovered in Malia, CreteCredit:Kostas Metaxakis/Athena Pictures
The statement from Lydia read: “Our family are devastated at the loss of Tracey and Pierce. They were extremely loved by all of their family and friends.”Pierce was a fun-loving, friendly and happy boy, who loved computer games and made everyone smile.”Tracey was loving, caring and a wonderful mother and daughter. Always putting others before herself.”The family did not provide refuge for homeless people and Aaron Barley had never lived at the family home but had been assisted by the family in the past 12 months.”We would like to express our gratitude to the emergency services, and to thank hospital staff for their excellent care. “We would appreciate privacy and respect during this distressing time.”Mrs Wilkinson, 50, was pronounced dead at her home in Greyhound Lane, Stourbridge, after suffering stab injuries, while her son died after being taken to hospital. Lydia Wilkinson was comforted by her boyfriend and his parents as she read dozens of message cards on floral tributes left by friends of her mother Tracey and brother Pierce. Flower tributes outside the Wilkinson’s family home in Stourbridge, West MidlandsCredit:PA A student whose mother and 13-year-old brother died after being stabbed at their family home has visited the scene to lay flowers in their memory. Mrs Wilkinson, 50, was pronounced dead at her home in Greyhound Lane, Stourbridge, after suffering stab injuries, while her son Pierce was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital. Her husband Peter, 47, remains in a critical but stable condition after being found with stab wounds in his back garden.They were found injured when emergency services attended their home at about 8am on Thursday. Shocked locals described the family as “Good Samaritans with hearts of gold”. The 18-year-old, a student at Bristol University, crouched down as she looked at flowers laid on the pavement and against walls on both sides of a police tent which remains outside her home in Stourbridge, West Midlands.After her visit on Sunday morning, Lydia issued a statement paying tribute to Tracey and Pierce. Colin Elcock, a local Tory councillor, told how they had taken in a young man since Christmas and had proudly claimed he was making great progress.The ward councillor said: “They took in a homeless person who was a local and Peter found him a job at his company.”Tracey certainly looked after him with food and that kind of thing and Peter was very pleased to say they were helping him become a member of society again.”We’re hoping that Peter will of course pull through.”Another local claimed they had made the gesture after spotting a young man begging.He said: “They were a very charitable couple, they were Good Samaritans and Tracey had a heart of gold.”It doesn’t surprise me at all that they would open up their home to somebody in need and provide them with a roof over their head. It was just in their nature. They were just so kind.” They were found injured when emergency services attended their home at about 8am on Thursday.Barley, of no fixed address, is accused of the murders of Pierce and Mrs Wilkinson, and the attempted murder of her husband Peter.The 23-year-old was not asked to enter pleas when he appeared before magistrates in Birmingham on Saturday. He is due to appear at the city’s Crown Court on Monday. Lydia Wilkinson, the daughter of stabbing victims Peter and Tracey Wilkinson, views floral tributes at her family home in Stourbridge, West MidlandsCredit:PA Our family are devastated at the loss of Tracey and Pierce. They were extremely loved by all of their family and friendsLydia Wilkinson It confirmed that the man accused of their murders, Aaron Barley, had been helped by the family in the past year.Barley, 23, had also been supported by a local church after falling on hard times.He was assisted into Birmingham Magistrates Court by three police officers in head gear and wore a sling around his right arm. Lydia Wilkinson, the daughter of stabbing victims Peter and Tracey Wilkinson, views floral tributes at her family home in Stourbridge, West MidlandsCredit:PA Piers Wilkinson (left) was found along with his mother Tracey in their house on Greyhound Lane, Stourbridge, this morning. His father, 47-year-old Peter (right), is still in hospitalCredit:Caters News Aaron Barley, 23, appeared before Birmingham magistrates court charged with the murders of Tracey Wilkinson, 50, and her 13-year-old son PierceCredit:BPM Media Shocked locals described the family as good Samaritans who had opened their home to a homeless person around Christmas. Lydia Wilkinson, the daughter of stabbing victims Peter and Tracey Wilkinson, views floral tributes at her family home in Stourbridge, West MidlandsCredit:PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
The Second Punic War, when Hannibal famously marched his elephants across the Alps from Carthage in a failed attack on Rome, is regarded as one of the pivotal events in the history of Europe.The war led to the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, with the Romans gradually gaining control over the lucrative Spanish silver mines from around 211BC.Revenues from the rich Spanish silver mines coupled with booty and extensive war reparations from Carthage, helped fund the expansion of its territory. For those living under the Carthaginian Empire, the defeat of general Hannibal would have been unmistakable.But its effect on the Roman Empire can be detected even today, historians have said, as they analyse the composition of ancient coins.A study of coins has illustrated that the defeat of Hannibal led to a flood of wealth across the Roman Empire from the silver mines of Spain, giving a “tangible record” of the transition of Rome from a regional power to an Empire. A denarius coin, minted by Rome between 108 and 107 BCECredit:Goethe University / SWNS.com Hannibal’s passing over the AlpsCredit: Now the application of geochemical analysis techniques has provided proof of the importance of the Spanish silver to the Roman conquest.Scientists based in Germany and Denmark analysed 70 Roman coins dating from 310-300BC to 101 BC, a period which bracketed the Second Punic War.Using Mass Spectrometry, they were able to show that lead in the coins made after 209BC has distinctive isotopic signatures which identified most of the later coins as presumably originating from Spanish sources.The changing origin of the coin bullion is mirrored by differing ratios of the lead isotopes 208Pb, 207Pb, 206Pb and 204Pb, which serve as ‘geological clocks’ recording the formation age of the ores used to extract the silver.After 209BC, the lead isotope signatures mostly correspond to those of deposits in southeast and southwest Spain or to mixtures of metal extracted from these districts.Study co-leader Dr Katrin Westner, of Goethe University in Frankfurt, Gemrany, said: “Before the war we find that the Roman coins are made of silver from the same sources as the coinage issued by Greek cities in Italy and Sicily.”In other words the lead isotope signatures of the coins correspond to those of silver ores and metallurgical products from the Aegean region.”But the defeat of Carthage led to huge reparation payments to Rome, as well as Rome gaining high amounts of booty and ownership of the rich Spanish silver mines.”From 209BC we see that the majority of Roman coins show geochemical signatures typical for Iberian silver.”This massive influx of Iberian silver significantly changed Rome’s economy, allowing it to become the superpower of its day.”We know this from the histories of Livy and Polybius and others, but our work gives contemporary scientific proof of the rise of Rome.”What our work shows is that the defeat of Hannibal and the rise of Rome is written in the coins of the Roman Empire.”Professor Kevin Butcher, of the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Warwick University, said: “This research demonstrates how scientific analysis of ancient coins can make a significant contribution to historical research.”It allows what was previously speculation about the importance of Spanish silver for the coinage of Rome to be placed on a firm foundation.”The findings were presented at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Paris. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.