Minbari

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The Minbari are a fictional race in the Babylon 5 universe. Their homeworld is Minbar. Although they are considerably younger than the ancient First Ones, they are among the oldest of the younger races. The Minbari are more advanced in technology than humans, and have had spaceflight capability for over 1,000 years.

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Homeworld

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Minbar is a fictional planet, the homeworld of the Minbari race in the television series Babylon 5. The planet and race were named (by Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski) after the Islamic pulpit known as a minbar.

Minbar is located in the Chi Draconis A star system - a binary star system. It is the seventh planet in orbit around the local suns. The system is just over 25 light years from Earth. Like Earth, Minbar has an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere. The polar caps are larger than those on Earth, the northern cap covers 23% of the planet's surface. On the whole, Minbar's climate is colder than that of Earth. The planet is noted for vast crystalline structures, many cities are carved directly from crystal. Minbar's year is about 1.5 Earth years. Its day is shorter than Earth's, being 20 hours and 47 minutes. It has two moons. The population of the planet is about 4 billion, and the capital city is located at Yedor.

Society

The Minbari society is structured around three quasi-ethnic castes. These castes are the Worker, Warrior, and Religious castes. Membership in a caste appears to be a hereditary matter - children of parents from one caste will usually follow their parents. If the parents are of different castes, the mother's caste takes precedence - any children would belong to the mother's caste. Sometimes Minbari who have a deep feeling for one caste - which they refer to as the calling of their heart - will join a different caste.

Each Minbari caste has leaders which are referred to as elders. These elders oversee the governance of the internal matters of the caste.

Until the breaking of the Grey Council in 2260 each caste held equal power, an institution created by Valen a thousand years before to put an end to civil war between the castes and unite them against a common enemy, the Shadows.

Government

The Minbari Federation is the government of the Minbari worlds and colonies, it is based on Minbar (see above). Although there is a capital city on Minbar, Yedor, the ruling body of the Minbari Federation, known as the Grey Council, usually meets on board a starship.

The Grey Council is made up of nine individuals, as well as an additional person who serves as an advisor/leader to the council. The individuals on the council are referred to as Satai.

Religion

The Minbari religion does not have a central God figure, nor does it have a pantheon of Gods. The Minbari believe that the universe itself is sentient, and that the universe has the ability to break itself into many pieces. They believe that the universe places a piece of itself inside each individual.

Valen is a central figure in Minbari religion. Unlike Jesus, Valen is not considered a deity. He was however a "Minbari not born of Minbar". About 1260 AD, Valen appeared on board what was later to be revealed as Babylon 4. He helped the Minbari people in fighting the Shadows. With his help, the Minbari drove them back to their homeworld. Valen then helped reshape Minbari government. He organized the Grey Council, which was made of nine individuals. These nine individuals came from each of the three castes. This form of government remained stable for 1,000 years until the next Shadow War. Because of his earlier experiences as Jeffrey Sinclair, Valen had knowledge of the events that were to come. He left memories of these events to the Minbari people as prophecy in order to help them recognize the events that meant the Shadows had returned. He even wrote a note to himself to be opened by him at a certain date, in order to ensure that Sinclair would travel back in time and complete his transformation. Valen then left Minbar; the remainder of his life and his death is still a mystery.

Minbari people believe in reincarnation. They feel that after an individual has died, the soul of the individual joins with all the other departed Minbari souls. The souls then all meld together becoming one. Then the souls are reborn into the next generation of Minbari. This was the central reason behind the Minbari stopping their war with the humans. They found that Jeffrey Sinclair had Valen's soul. At the time, they thought Valen's soul had been reborn into Jeffrey Sinclair.

Biology

The Minbari are humanoid in appearance. Unlike humans, they are generally bald, and they have a large external bone structure on the back of their heads. Minbari have a slightly longer life span than humans - some have been known to live as long as 150 years.

As Minbar has a colder climate than that of Earth, Minbari are more comfortable in colder surroundings. They have less tolerance for high temperatures than other species.

The Minbari sense of taste is not as developed as that of human beings. Minbari prefer hot, spicy foods because of their weak sense of taste. Minbari do not drink beverages containing alcohol because their systems react very badly to alcohol. Even a tiny amount of alcohol has been known to cause intense psychotic reactions accompanied with homicidal rage in Minbari.

The Minbari reproduce sexually, in a manner similar to that of humans. Their sexual organs and the locations of such organs are similar to humans. As a rule, Minbari do not mate outside of their species because of a belief that it would disrupt their racial purity. However Ambassador Delenn married former Earthforce Captain John Sheridan, and their union produced a son, named David. This would normally be impossible, as Minbari and humans are not genetically compatible, but Delenn's transformation into a human/Minbari hybrid made it possible for her and Sheridan to have a child together.

Minbari do not have as good a sense of hearing as humans do. This is due to the location and size of their ears.

Minbari blood is red. It is similar in appearance to human blood, and their cardio-vascular system is similar to that of a human.

All Minbari have light toned skin. The Minbari people do not appear to have significant differences in their people as far as skin color and physical makeup are concerned from region to region. Whether this has always been the case or not is a subject still open to debate.

The notable headbone structure on the back and sides of their head is an extension of their skull. Minbari are not born with the headbone present. Instead the headbone grows over time. Many Minbari shape and style their headbone. However some members of the warrior caste do not do this, and allow their headbones to grow out naturally. Older Minbari typically have a more developed headbone. Female Minbari have a smooth headbone which tapers to a single point at the back of the head; males typically have headbones which taper to several points along the bone.

Both male and female Minbari are totally bald. However, some males are capable of growing facial hair. Older males will sometimes grow either beards or goatees. It's speculated that males with facial hair inherited the DNA for hair growth from Valen.

The Minbari physically have more stamina than humans, and can sustain injuries that would be fatal to a human. Their headbone protects their cranium and brain from impacts that would be fatal to other races. Minbari can tolerate a much greater blood loss than humans could. Also, they can sustain general trauma that would be fatal to other races. Dr. Franklin of Babylon 5 theorized that this was the reason they were so successful in the Minbari War - that they were able to keep going much longer than other species could.

Language

The Minbari have three main languages, referred to as Light, Dark, and Grey, a language for each caste. The languages are Fik (Worker Caste), Adronato (Religious Caste), and Len'ah (Warrior Caste). The language of Adronato is euphonic in tone and usually slow in delivery. All three languages are based on a root language of Adrihi'e.

Examples:

  • Adrihi'e: Nu'zen Fel'ani in-a lis'e medran
[English: You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.]
  • Adronado: Na'chea, Duvea na
[English: Make the sound of gently falling rain.]
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