"My God, man. We've become a tourist attraction. See the great Centauri Republic, open 9:00 to 5:00 . . . Earth time."
The Centauri Republic is the ruling governmental structure of the Centauri race and a major galactic power.
The Centauri Republic is a major galactic power and noted for being the first alien government with which Earth had open contact. The Republic is based on Centauri Prime but spans a number of other colonies and worlds. Despite its "Republic" moniker, the Centauri Republic is a nominal constitutional monarchy headed by an imperial family. It is ruled by an emperor, or, in the event of an interregnum, a regent. The emperor has enormous power in Centauri society, and all Centauri are taught to be deferential to the ruling monarch. The Centauri are not a democracy; the average citizen has little or no political power within the Republic. The Centauri Republic allows the practice of slavery, and owning slaves is legal within the Republic.
The Royal Court is an assembly of nobles directly in the emperor's employ. Many of the members of the Royal Court hold some of the highest government positions and it is often regarded as the true stepping stone towards the throne.
- Ministry of War - One of the two ministries overseeing the military, responsible for managing and directing warships engaged in offensive movements against enemy fleets and worlds
- Ministry of Defense - The other ministry overseeing the military, organizing defensive fleets protecting Centauri Prime and other worlds and bases in the Republic
- Ministry of Intelligence
- Ministry of Transportation
- Ministry of Security
The only real check on the monarch's power, the Centaurum is a legislative assembly made up of the leaders of the major noble houses. Members of the Centaurum carry the title of Legator, which is roughly the equivalent of an Earth Senator, and it is possible the titles are synonymous. Nobles who manipulate the Centaurum successfully are able to wield great power. The Centaurum can vote to overturn a decree of the monarch, although this would appear to be a rare practice. An exception to the power of the Centaurum came about during the brief reign of Emperor Cartagia, whose personal madness drove him to execute his enemies in the Centaurum, allowing him to rule despotically.
The Populum is the other ruling body of the Republic and represents the official voice of the Great and Lesser Houses. Roughly equivalent to the lower houses of legislative bodies on Earth, members hold the title Vocator.
Titles and PositionsEdit
- Emperor: Hereditary title. The supreme ruler of the Centauri Republic. Four men officially held the title of emperor from 2258 to 2281: Turhan, Cartagia, Londo Mollari, and Vir Cotto. In 2278, and even then for only five minutes, Mollari named Luc Deradi emperor, giving the child authority to give a single command. Emperor Turhan had done the same for Mollari when he was a young boy in the Royal Court.
- Regent: Old title of authority used in place of an Emperor when there is no clear line of succession or heir apparent. Minister Milo Virini was elected to the position by the Royal Court after the death of Emperor Cartagia in 2261, and held the title until his death in 2262, after which Londo Mollari was made emperor.
- Empress: A ceremonial title for the wife of the Emperor. Like all titles held by Centauri females, it holds no official or political authority within the government. Nonetheless, it entitles the holder to a great deal of privilege and money. It is unknown if the title of "empress" applies to all wives of the emperor or just a single, chosen individual. Morella - Turhan's third wife - was referred to as "lady" after his death, though it is unknown if she was called empress beforehand. Londo Mollari's wife Timov was granted this title when Mollari became emperor.
- Princess: Title bestowed on a daughter of the Emperor. In 2029 a young princess ordered that a Guard was to stand over and protect the spot where she had noticed the first flower of spring poking up through the snow in the Royal Gardens. The Princess soon forgot about it, and since the order was never countermanded a guard was assigned to that post every day for 200 years.
- Prince Regent: Unlike a Regent, the title of Prince Regent appears to be used in a more ceremonial capacity, it is seemingly given to a Prince of the Royal Bloodline who is highest in the line of succession; such as the Prince Regent Dius Vintari.
- Prime Minister: First in line of authority to the Emperor. The prime minister is seen sitting on the royal throne while the emperor is not in residence. During the reign of Emperor Turhan, Malachi served as prime minister until his assassination in 2259, shortly after Turhan's death by natural causes. It is unknown who held the position during the reign of Cartagia - though Lord Antono Refa often discharged the authority of the office - and it may have remained vacant, officially. The position was later filled by Londo Mollari in 2261 until he was crowned Emperor in 2262. Eventually, he named Vir Cotto his new prime minister, partly under the orders of the Drakh to keep the troublemaker close, but also to give him the opportunity to instigate the rebellion to overthrow their control over Centauri Prime.
- Prophetess Supreme: Title bestowed by the emperor himself to a chosen Prophetess who traditionally resides in Tuwain. The title is a great honor and comes with a great deal of money and privilege. The tradition dates back to Emperor Morell whose life was saved by a Prophetess of Tuwain.
- Minister: Official appointed to the Royal Court - often by the emperor himself - to run a particular aspect of daily business, acting as the executive officer of one of the governmental ministries. Notable Centauri Ministers have included Minister of Defense Cholini, Minister of Protocol Milo Virini, and Durano of the Ministry of Intelligence. Ministers are treated with a level of respect and deference second only to the emperor himself.
- Vocator: A member of the Populum, the lower legislative house of the government. Vocators are elected / appointed officials that represent the Centauri who do not belong to the noble houses.
- Legator / Senator (translation): A member of the Centaurum, the higher legislative house of the government.. A legator is roughly the equivalent to an Earth Senator; the terms appear to be synonymous and interchangeable.
- Lord: Hereditary title, usually the head of a Noble House and a member of the Centaurum. Lord Antono Refa and Lord Kiro were both heads of noble houses, both claiming proximity and right to the throne: Kiro by being descended from old royalty, Refa by his machinations to rise to the throne.
- Lady: Technically the female equivalent of a Lord, though the title itself holds no actual power so much as a degree of respect and privilege the title holder is afforded. The title is often no more than a sign of nobility, such as Lady Ladira and Lady Morella.
- Grand Fleet Admiral: Highest ranking fleet officer and a direct advisor to the Emperor. Grand Fleet Admiral Dromo held the position in 2262.
- Guardsman Elite: Highest ranking Imperial Guardsman and a direct advisor to the Emperor. Guardsman Elite Tavastani held the position in 2262.
The majority of Centauri innovation came from the Republic's golden age and as such more recent developments have tended towards refinement of already existing discoveries. Despite this, Centauri technology is very advanced in comparison most of the other Younger Races, the majority of which - save the Minbari - pale in comparison. Centauri tech may have a somewhat gaudy aestheticism, bordering on the impractical that some may interpret as weak or useless but it belies its very real and formidable capabilities. Like the Minbari, the Centauri have mastered artificial gravity and their warships are equipped with gravimetric engines.
At the dawn of the Third Age, the Centauri fleet was among the most powerful in the known galaxy, second only to the Minbari, both in number and capabilities. Centauri armaments are especially formidable; employing mine launchers, missiles and high energy weapons that fire almost like projectiles—exploding, rather than slicing or disrupting their targets—there was very little that they could not handle. The Sentri class fighters, while designed to operate in both open space and planetary atmospheres, were surprisingly agile. While the Primus class battlecruisers are older than Vorchan class medium warships, they are very reliable and were more than capable of going toe-to-toe with almost any other single warship built by the younger races.
From 2259 through to the end of 2262 the Centauri military saw a great expansion not seen for almost a century as the Republic became embroiled in a series of conflicts, starting with the Narn-Centauri War, the subsequent Wars of Aggression, providing support for John Sheridan's forces in the Earth Alliance Civil War and the later Centauri War that culminated in the unsanctioned Assault on Centauri Prime by Drazi and Narn forces. Even after that last defeat, the Centauri may have retreated but the Republic's war machine was by no means destroyed or demobilized. Its size and power would remain a source for concern for the Interstellar Alliance for the next several decades, most especially those governments that shared a border with the Centauri Republic.
Only a minority of the over forty billion Centauri live on the homeworld. As the Republic fell into decline, its chief industry switched from conquest and discovery to tourism. Taking advantage of their long recorded history and the fact that unlike the Minbari, they're not shy about sharing it with other races and allowing others to see the many wonders of their Republic. The Republic's two oldest colonies; Centauri Beta I and Immolan V represent the main centers of tourism that have been opened to visitation by the other races. The Republic also still maintains a number of agricultural and manufacturing colonies such as the farming colony at Ragesh III and the industrial colony on Tolonius VII. Since the end of the First Centauri Occupation of Narn, the Republic has also maintained a presence on the border of the Narn Regime. Outposts along the two governments' mutual border include the outpost at Quadrant 27 and the colony in Quadrant 1 and have been used to keeps a watch on Narn space.
The Republic was also bordered by a number of independent outlying colonies and border worlds settled by Centauri hoping to start new lives for themselves. In the mid-to-late 2260s, the Prime Candidates took control of more than half a dozen such worlds, including Morbis and Nefua, using them as secret training facilities and munitions plants as part of Minister Durla's covert military build-up. In January 2271, Morbis and Nefua were the first targets to be bombed by the Centauri resistance movement under the direction of Ambassador Cotto.
The Elder Days of the RepublicEdit
The Republic has been in existence for over two millennia. Centauri civilization dates back many thousands of years before the Third Age, though perhaps the most defining period was the War of 20 Million Deaths; a period following first contact with the Xon. They were a race of sentient beings that had evolved and developed a civilization of their own in parallel to the Centauri on the continent of Xonos. Isolated from one another by Centauri Prime's vast oceans, the two races remained unaware of one-another until one or both of them developed the technology to cross the oceans. The result of two such civilizations meeting was a disaster, akin to an alien first contact and both sides recognizing the other as a supreme threat, sought to totally wipe the other from their homeworld.
The conflict was long and bloody with both sides incurring staggering losses. To cope, the Centauri adopted a tradition; a Celebration of Life where each year they would count how many of their own people had survived and celebrate their good fortune. The tradition survived well into the Third Age, by which time it had become an elaborate feast where the participants would binge and purge until finally passing out. By 262 the Xon had finally been defeated and wiped out during the reign of Emperor Tuscano who also lead the Centauri to victory against the invading Shoggren.
Before he died Emperor Tuscano commissioned the very first Royal Palace and formed the Palace Guard, incorporating his seal into the buttons of their uniform. When the Palace was built, some water from the nearby river was sealed in an ornate urn and it became the tradition to give it to the heir to the throne when he or she came of age.
According to Centauri tradition, as recorded in the "old books", Tuscano and the other Emperors of the Elder Days were proclaimed deities by the ancient gods and in exchange for loyalty, they were said to become immortal. Even two thousand years later, elaborate and ornate temples built in their names adjoined the Emperor's Palace drew millions of pilgrims and tourists each year with faithful Centauri still offering up prayers to the first Emperors.
The Great Old Days of the RepublicEdit
What followed was a period of great expansion and much celebrated glory. By the 13th Century the had stumbled across an ancient jumpgate at the outer edges of their system while exploring in their first early spaceships. Like others before them, once they unlocked the complex codes required to activate the jump gates, they set out to explore hyperspace and reverse engineer the technology for themselves. With the rest of the galaxy now open to them the Republic began expanding in all directions, conquering whole systems and enslaving alien races. Still, though they controlled entire quadrants of space and little stood in their way, even the Centauri knew better than to try and oppose the powerful Minbari Federation.
The Conquest of NarnEdit
In 2109 the Republic invaded the Narn Homeworld. An agrarian world populated by what the Centauri considered to be a race of backwards, uncultured primitives. Initially the Narns welcomed them with open arms and the Centauri quickly took advantage of their technological superiority and eventually enslaved the population. Using them as slave labor as they began strip mining the planet's resources, devastating it's ecology and slowly turned the once green and verdant world into a dry, red, dust ravaged planet. The Narn fought back and by attrition gradually made the occupation more and more difficult for the Centauri to maintain.
Contact with HumansEdit
On Wednesday, April 7 2156, a Centauri vessel entering a system in a fairly uninteresting part of the galaxy that the Republic had never bothered much with before came across a planet populated by a primitive, pre-interstellar civilization called the Earth Alliance. Though they had begun to colonize nearby moons and planets, their system lacked a jumpgate and the Republic saw an opportunity for quick profit. Their civilization now past it's prime, the increasingly decadent Centauri became fascinated with the Humans and their abundance of art, trinkets and eccentricity and opened up trade with this new world, which included access to hyperspace. Initially the Republic leased time on their jumpgates before negotiating the sale of the technology for the Humans to build their own gates. The thinking at the time was that the primitive humans would quickly annihilate themselves once they had purchased the Centauri's advanced technology. They believed that the humans would move too quickly for their own good and anticipated internal struggles and wars within the Earth Alliance that was at the time already on the verge of collapse. The plan was for Centauri Prime to secretly fund both sides and allow them to more or less obliterate each other, after which the Republic would step in and pick the pieces and incorporate Earth to their territory with little risk to Centauri interests and nothing but profit. Things however did not go according to plan as the Alliance held together, mostly out of fear of a galaxy full of heretofore unknown and powerful alien threats.
Around this time, the Centauri even attempted to convince humans that they were a lost colony, thus explaining the superficial similarities between the two species. They even went to far as to pick up on an Earth practice - prevalent at the time - of naming their secondary colonies 'Beta', so when they translated the names of their own planets and star systems into English, the Republic also used Greek lettering and since to them there could only be one "Alpha" world (Centauri Prime) many of their colonies ended up being called 'Beta', such as Centauri Beta I. According to the Centauri claim Earth was "Beta 9"; however when Human scientists finally gained access to Centauri DNA and discovered the two races were not even remotely related, the Centauri then pleaded that their previous assertion stemmed from a clerical error and Earth was in fact "Beta 12", dropping any further attempts to claim kinship.
Decline of an EmpireEdit
In 2231, after a long period of occupation and oppression, the Narn Resistance finally pushed the Centauri off their now ravaged homeworld, an event that coincided with a steady decline in Centauri power and influence. What was once a vast empire was now just a dozen worlds, filled with monuments to glories long since past and before long they would find themselves in direct competition with the new Narn Regime.
When the Dilgar invaded the Non-Aligned sectors in 2230, the Centauri Republic secretly aided them in their conquest of many worlds (later claims of Narn collusion with the Dilgar were dismissed as Centauri propaganda) though the Earth Alliance, finally stretching its influence, came into the Dilgar War in support of the League worlds. With their help, the Dilgar were driven back and ultimately wiped out when Omelos's star went supernova.
The Humans did however eventually trip up and get pulled into a war as the Centauri had predicted but it was the wrong war. Their new-found power and confidence lead them to arrogance and stupidity when they decided, against Centauri advice to send an explorer division into Minbari space to assess what if any threat this ancient and mysterious race might pose. The resulting first contact was an absolute catastrophe and tragedy of galactic proportions. The Earth ships encountered a small fleet of Minbari ships and the Human Captain misinterpreted the Warrior Caste sign of respect of approaching with gun ports open as a prelude to attack and opened fire on the lead ship. In the ensuing firefight, Chosen One Dukhat of the Grey Council who was killed aboard the damaged vessel and the Minbari responded with an uncontrollable fury, sparking a holy war that could only end in the complete annihilation of Earth itself. The Earth government asked the Republic for aid and strategic support, but were categorically told no. The Republic had no intention of risking the possibility that they might share the Minbari's vengeance by assisting their new enemies, forcing the Alliance to instead turn to the Narn Regime for weapons supplies - much of which was in fact captured or replicated Centauri technology.
As the war progressed the Republic became concerned that the Narns were using the war to establish closer ties with the Humans and so issued orders to disrupt or prevent their efforts. Londo Mollari, the liaison to the Centauri delegation on Earth discovered through his network of spies on Narn and Minbar that a secret Narn mission carrying Humans was bound for the Epsilon System and so ordered an attack, assuming it was an arms shipment. It wasn't until afterwards that he realised it was a secret meeting between Earth and Minbar and that the Centauri had just annihilated any hope of a negotiated peace. The war did eventually end, but not as any would have predicted with the Minbari's mysterious surrender at the Battle of the Line while on the very edge a final victory.
Governments Major Governments Vorlon Empire Minbari Federation Centauri Republic Earth Alliance Narn Regime Minor Governments: Drazi Freehold Brakiri Syndicracy Abbai Matriarchate Drakh Entire Gaim Intelligence Hyach Grand Council of Elders Markab Confederacy The pak'ma'ra Androma Republic Marga Chulda Mi-Ma-Ti Ingyo Ventuki Conglomerate Sh'lassen Triumvirate