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The uniform and peacock hair resembles the French soldiers during the Napoleon era. The way Centauri patriots talk about the good old and powerful days sound like a French talking about how Napoleon almost conquered the whole of Europe during the good old days. Any reason why the similarities between Centauris and Napoleonic France?

Here is a picture of Napoleon himself.

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Picture of Londo, future Emperor of Centauri Prime. He may not be as good-looking as Napoleon but the hair looks similar. The uniform looks regimental.

enter image description here

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    Are you looking for an in-universe or out-of-universe answer? – Harry Johnston Oct 21 '17 at 10:06
  • Any answer will do. Up to your imagination. – user486818 Oct 21 '17 at 10:06
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    There's some speculation online that JMS patterned the Centauri after the Roman empire. I suspect the theme of a declining empire's last gasps is more broad. – neilfein Oct 21 '17 at 15:43
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    @neilfein: and Napoleon modeled his empire on the Roman empire: law, symbol of the eagle,... – Taladris Oct 22 '17 at 15:00
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    Going to post this as a comment because I haven't had the time to do the actual research. I seem to recall some behind the scenes stuff on the DVDs where the costume designer talked about wanting to make the Centauri look like a decadent, fading empire, and so drew inspiration from the fashions from that period of human history. I'll convert it to an actual answer if I get the chance. – Dranon Oct 22 '17 at 19:10
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Centauri look like Napolean-era French because Earth is a long-lost colony of the Centauri empire. At least according to the Centauri, until comparative biology showed otherwise.

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    So, they look alike, because they are not related? – Organic Marble Oct 22 '17 at 21:03
  • in-universe, according to the Centauri, they were. I forget why they wanted Earth to believe that. Of course, that was before anyone found out about their six extra tentacles...... – MikeC Oct 23 '17 at 0:19
  • It's pretty clear from the tone of Londo and Garibaldi's conversation that the Centauri knew we weren't related the whole time and were just saying that to take advantage of the naivete of a new space-faring race. But even if the Centauri genuinely believed the claim, that still wouldn't make it true. There was no contact between the two species prior to Earth's first contact 100 years before the show. So, the Centauri fashion sense has nothing to do with the "lost colony" claim at all. – Alarion Oct 23 '17 at 12:41

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