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On Star Trek: Voyager, Captain Janeway keeps a sculpture of a head on a shelf near her desk in her ready room.

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Whose head is it?

  • 1
    Obviously that's a bust of the creature in the center of the galaxy. Voyager was originally planned to be given to it before it got lost in the delta quadrant. – CBredlow Jul 25 '16 at 22:53
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    I've added a better pic. – Valorum Jul 25 '16 at 23:11
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    @ IG_42 I doubt it's Da Vinci, since she has his self portrait hanging in the same room (memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Leonardo_da_Vinci). – Aibara Jul 25 '16 at 23:13
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    Hammurabi? Nebuchadnezzar? – Wayne Werner Jul 26 '16 at 3:29
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    Clickbait title change: What's going on with Janeway's bust? – Valorum Jul 26 '16 at 7:27
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I think the bust might depict Odysseus.

statue of Odysseus (source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/69716881@N02/8559584513)

Probably the only time the bust is acknowledged on-screen is in Voyager: Counterpoint:

(Janeway and Inspector Kashyk are in her ready room. Kashyk is looking at Janeway's collection of artifacts and picks up the bust in question.)

KASHYK: It seems you have a long-standing obsession with exploration, Captain. I, on the other hand, have much more in common with this ancient soldier.

JANEWAY: He's from Earth's classical period. It produced some of our greatest artists as well.

So he is referred to as a "soldier" as opposed to an "artist". I would say this description fits much better to Odysseus than to Aristotle or Archimedes.

Odysseus is often depicted bearded and wearing a pileus (a kind of felt hat), so this also fits quite well.

Out of universe, I can totally see someone from the prop department putting in this little reference to Janeway's own Odyssey.

In universe it might be a bit harder to explain. We get the first glimpse of the bust in the very first episode, already in the Delta Quadrant but before Janeway could know that she herself will be on a long journey home.

  • Nice catch with the dialogue. It also resembles this 'ancient greek warrior sculpture' sold on ebay--it's possible the prop department just found some similar anonymous classical-looking sculpture and thought it would work for a prop in Janeway's ready room without giving much thought to who it might be. There's a similar example that's not a reproduction here. – Hypnosifl Jul 26 '16 at 21:25
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    I think a starship captain might still identify with the exploratory spirit of Odysseus, which could explain why she had it. – Adamant Jul 26 '16 at 21:37
  • @Adamant - Maybe in-universe, but I'm just not sure that in an out-of-universe sense the prop department would really have put that much thought into it. It looks pretty similar to this knicknack which as far as I can tell from google image searches is just a pseudo-ancient "greek warrior" rather than an actual reproduction of any ancient sculpture, so maybe they used something similar, or even an earlier edition of this one from the same makers. – Hypnosifl Jul 26 '16 at 21:40
  • @Hypnosifl - Yeah, I meant in-universe. – Adamant Jul 26 '16 at 21:40
  • Others seem to agree with this: trekbbs.com/threads/how-is-janeway-sexy-part-ii.151128/page-38 – MikeM Jul 26 '16 at 21:50
18

If you showed me this image out of the blue, without context, I would have thought it was Archimedes.

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This fits with Janeway's backstory as a scientist on a philosophical and technical level. In particular, an oft-quoted anecdote is the story him shouting Eureka! Eureka! on discovering the eponymously named principle of buoyancy.

14

I believe it's Aristotle.

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Notably, Janeway's hero (Da Vinci) states that he looks up to Aristotle

JANEWAY: As a sparrow your mind would be too small? Even with the best of teachers?

DA VINCI: If Aristotle himself were to perch on my branch and lecture till he fell off from exhaustion, still the limits of my mind would prevent me from understanding.

Voy: Concerning Flight

  • A page on that sculpture is here, apparently it's a bust of Aristotle created in the 16th century, so maybe we coudl imagine Janeway wanted a bust of Aristotle of the type that Da Vinci might have owned, rather than one that looked more like how the ancient Greeks would have depicted him. – Hypnosifl Jul 25 '16 at 23:52
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    cache2.asset-cache.net/gc/… - There's a pic showing his funny little hat a bit better. – Valorum Jul 25 '16 at 23:53
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    This one has the helmet, but not the curly beard. The Archimedes one has the curly beard, but not the helmet. I'm not sure what we're supposed to conclude, other than "some ancient philosopher". – Martha Jul 26 '16 at 1:37
  • @Martha I think it's fair to narrow it to "Some Ancient Greek philosopher." – ApproachingDarknessFish Jul 26 '16 at 5:10
  • @ApproachingDarknessFish - Well it's definitely not a famous depiction.. – Valorum Jul 26 '16 at 7:28

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