The Minbari society is divided into three castes: Religious, Warrior, and Worker.

Do each of these three castes make up (roughly) one third of the Minbari population or is one overrepresented (and thus underrepresented in the Grey Council at the start of the series)?

  • They build, you pray, we fight. Good question. I've always wondered too, although a uniform distribution of the castes sound somewhat unlikely.
    – Ghanima
    Nov 17, 2015 at 20:41
  • @Ghanima yes, same here. One third warriors even in peacetime seems like a lot, for one thing.
    – YviDe
    Nov 17, 2015 at 20:48
  • I tried looking up the caste system in India, but it's a lot more complicated than I realized. It looks to me like in India the major castes - warrior, priestly, and trader - are/were only 3% to 5% each of the whole population. The commoner castes are/were around 70% and the rest are/were outcaste or tribal (?). In modern India it gets way more complex, with many people refusing to accept the whole idea.
    – Joe L.
    Nov 17, 2015 at 21:51

2 Answers 2


The Minbari castes were originally supposed to be equal. Since then, they have been passed on by birth (JMS on compuserve), but individuals then get to choose to try out other castes and see if they fit them (JMS on Usenet). As such, it would be impossible to maintain a perfect balance.

In short, the castes shouldn't be equal because there's no overarching control mechanism to keep them so.


I'm not sure that any studied watching of the series should lead you to conclude that they are an individualistic species. The idea that each person should pursue their own goals and dreams, that they should have their own (public) personal opinions... this isn't unimaginable to them (they have, for several centuries, birthed many human souls) but would be slightly alien or uncomfortable to most.

Therefor, I don't take it to mean that they'd be comfortable with the idea of proportional representation either. Each of the three castes is represented equally at the beginning of the show. Even at its end, the worker caste gains councilors not because it has a higher population, but because it was caught in the crossfire of the factional conflict between the warriors and religious and suffered for it.

The question of whether or not each caste has roughly equal populations is unanswerable, given what we have of canon. We do know that the caste system itself was the mandate of Valen, and so the species and society has only had a few thousand years to adapt to that. There probably aren't yet any evolutionary changes that might help balance populations naturally.

  • There is actually no need for a natural balance. If the Minbari cared to achieve a certain distribution I am sure they'd find means to implement it. A spacefaring race should be able to apply some kind of birth quota system - although I admit that there is no bureaucratic caste ^^
    – Ghanima
    Nov 17, 2015 at 22:20

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