The Centauri Republic
The gardens of the royal palace on Centauri Prime.
The Centauri were the first aliens encountered by humanity. Physically, they look nearly identical to humans, and initially the Centauri claimed that Earth was a lost colony - a claim which was later retracted after humans discovered that the similarities weren't so great after all. Centauri women are bald; men wear their hair in peacock-style fans whose length indicates the wearer's social standing. The family is very important to the Centauri, as a Centauri's status and honour comes from his or her family, and marraiges are usually arranged to join the Republic's leading houses. The Centauri homeworld, Centauri Prime, which is situated 75 light years from Babylon 5, was once inhabited by two sentient species, the Centauri and the Xon, until the Centauri annihilated the Xon. At the end of each year since then, the Centauri have held a religious celebration during which they count the dead Xon and thank the gods for their good fortune.
The Centauri worship approxinately 50 gods, including Li, goddess of passion, Venzann, god of food, and Mogath, god of the underworld. A once mighty empire - at the height of its power the Centauri Empire spanned the galaxy - it had begun to decline during the mid 22nd century, as a result of its own decadence and over-ambition. Consequently, the Republic was forced to withdraw from many of the worlds it had conquered, including Narn. Thanks to Ambassador Mollari's alliance with the Shadows, however, the Republic regained much of its former glory by re-conquering Narn and many non-aligned worlds in 2259 and 2260. The Centauri Republic is ruled by an Emperor who is based on Centauri Prime. The Centauri believe they can predict their own deaths and many, including Londo, have claimed to have had visions of their deaths in their dreams.