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Babylon 5 (Centauri and British and Roman Empires)

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  • Babylon 5 (Centauri and British and Roman Empires)

    I've been a big fan of Babylon 5 since last year and first watched the series in the late 1990s intermittently when it was on TNT. Of the civilizations on Babylon 5 I found the Centauri to be quite interesting. The Centauri have been compared to the Roman Empire during the Imperial Age (the fact that they refer to themselves as a Republic though ruled by an Emperor is a stated parallel) and the British Empire.

    J. Michael Straczynski himself has said:

    "[The Centauri were like] the British Empire once upon a time... It was a great military power. But slowly, as can happen, they grew content, and lazy, and gradually their own empire began to slip between their fingers."
    I wonder if scholars of British military history would agree with that assessment as to the decline of the British Empire.
    Last edited by LoneRider; 07 Feb 11, 21:23.
    "Conquer Yourself." -Vladimir Salnikov, 1500m Olympic Swimming Champion, 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

  • #2
    Originally posted by LoneRider View Post
    I've been a big fan of Babylon 5 since last year and first watched the series in the late 1990s intermittently when it was on TNT. Of the civilizations on Babylon 5 I found the Centauri to be quite interesting. The Centauri have been compared to the Roman Empire during the Imperial Age (the fact that they refer to themselves as a Republic though ruled by an Emperor is a stated parallel) and the British Empire.

    J. Michael Straczynski himself has said:



    I wonder if scholars of British military history would agree with that assessment as to the decline of the British Empire.
    No not quite, the major reason was increase of economic competition largely from Germany and the USA, and the biggest mistake we made was not to allow india and other parts of the empire (Africa) to industrialize creating more wealth and increasing the size of their economies, instead keeping most of the industry in the UK.
    The long depression, a global wide recession from 1873 to 1896, the worst in modern history and then a Arms Race especially in the size of the worlds navies and trying to stay on top as the worlds greatest sea power almost bankurpted the British Empire instead of investing in our economy/other parts of the empire industrialize say India, the government always choose to maintain our position as the world foremost seapower. The cost of Empire became more expensive to protect and run, in alot of cases such as most of Africa it cost more to have it then the UK was making money from it. (the same sort problem the USSR had and which the USA has)
    Of course WW1 was very expensive and by the time of WW2 we still paying off most of the debt from the WW1.
    Of course WW2 broke the camels back (financially) by march 1941 the UK only had 16 million left. We had spent almost all our gold reserves in the USA buying weapons (mostly replacing equipment lost at Dunkirk and further expansion of the military) and yes the US really charged! us for them (cash and carry) there were no favours as the USA used this new wealth to expand it's economy and when the money ran out Lend Lease came in to continue the US economic expansion and boy did the USA really take the British to the cleaners in their demand of full economic access to the Empire's market and that the UK was not allowed to export anything worldwide including to it's own empire any products which the USA made.
    Including the fully exchange ability of the US dollar into UK pound sterling. And of course the rights to bases in the Empire.

    By 1945 when the war ended the USA immediately cut off all support though Lend Lease and the UK faced bankurptcy, Then the UK had to ask for another loan from the USA which lasted about a month because the US insisted on the full exchange to the US dollar and there was a run on the pound (that loan was only repaid fully on 29 December 2006).
    Rationing did not end in the UK until 1954 and the UK is still paying off the debt of the Napoleonic wars and WW2 while the WW1 debt is still outstanding what the US government lent the UK (about 40 billion Adjusted by inflation/and if adjusted by the growth of GDP, to about 225bn doesn't include interest) though the UK stopped paying it in 1932 and has been frozen since.

    Basically that's how the USA became a superpower it made a lot of money and increased the size of it's economy mostly away from the fighting of both world wars which fuelled it from both sides and being the last major power to enter each war.
    Replacing the British Empire as a world superpower.
    But hey look on the brightside being the world most powerfull nation costs alot of money the USA has a gross Debt of more than $17 trillon and spend more on it's military than the rest of the world combined. The US has made the same mistake the British Empire did and the USSR.

    History always repeats itself, and the US is following the same path the British Empire did bankurpting itself to maintain it's huge military and not investing in it's own economy and allowing China too much access to it's own market (just like the British with the USA) and borrowing trillions of $ from China and the Oil rich Arab states.


    To all American haters in 15-20 years you all be moaning about the Chinese and they will become the most hated nation on earth just like the British Empire was in the 19th century!
    Last edited by Tealo; 07 Feb 11, 23:21.
    • 'If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.' Sun Tzu

    Definition of government, "an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself" by Ibn Khaldun

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    • #3
      Originally posted by LoneRider View Post
      I've been a big fan of Babylon 5 since last year and first watched the series in the late 1990s intermittently when it was on TNT. Of the civilizations on Babylon 5 I found the Centauri to be quite interesting. The Centauri have been compared to the Roman Empire during the Imperial Age (the fact that they refer to themselves as a Republic though ruled by an Emperor is a stated parallel) and the British Empire.
      The Centauri Emperors can be directly compared to the Roman Emperors in the TV series I Claudius. Londo is Nero.
      How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
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      • #4
        Personally I see them as more of a fusion of the British and Ottoman empires; the Narn are sort of a stand in for the Greeks or Irish.
        "They're inviting us to defeat them! We must oblige them!"
        -Baron Munchausen

        "Ah, 'tis midsummer madness, the music is my temples, the hot blood of youth! Come, Kapellmeister, let the violas throb. My regiment leaves at dawn!"
        -Groucho Marx

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        • #5
          The British decided to work against, not with, colonies like India. If the British had decided to treat their colonies more like the US treated their states they could have become an incredible power. The way it went they lost the advantage they could have had over the central powers and then got into a double world war that exhausted them.

          I don't think that the Centauri in B5 reflect the downfall of the British empire very well. A pre-downfall empire, that's a better fit.

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          • #6
            Minbari - odd fusion of Eastern and Celtic cultures.
            Centauri - fusion of Napoleonic and Roman cultures.
            Narns - fusion of Middle Eastern Vultures.
            Humans - basically N American.
            Drazi - N African.

            I'm a big fan of B5. It brought a story arc, and (dare I say it) acting back to a sci-fi show.

            Star Trek and B5 were often seen as contenders for the Sci-fi crown, but I believe they are totally different. Star Trek is your warm cozy world where everything will turn out for the best. In B5 things go wrong. Usually badly.

            In Star Trek Walter Koenig plays a character that is socially bumbling but an exceptional navigator. In B5 he is a telepath that rapes peoples minds. For fun if they are mundanes.

            Star Treks Spitfire vs B5s P47 imo . Both good, both completely different.
            How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
            Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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            • #7
              This thread takes me back 15 years or so, as I remember the Centauri also to talk in outlandish Russian acsent.
              War is less costly than servitude

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              • #8
                Excuse me while I watch B5 real quick. As in all of it.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Redwolf View Post
                  Excuse me while I watch B5 real quick. As in all of it.
                  How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                  Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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