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The question as in the title, motivation for asking contains spoilers:

When Babylon 4 travels through time to help Minbari fight the war with Shadows, was the present Earth technology (2254 AD), especially in military, more advanced than Minbari past technology (cca 1260 AD)?

  • 2
    I want to say that the Minbari already had artificial gravity on their ships, and those beam weapons, clearly more advanced than humans even at the later date. But thinking about it, we only see a single depiction of this time period, when they first meet Valen. – John O Jul 7 '13 at 16:23
  • There is a video from the Great War in episode War Without End I, where Minbari base is rotating, which of course not necessarily mean it doesn't have artifical gravity. In the part II, the Mindari meet Valen on Babylon 4. – sm4 Jul 7 '13 at 16:33
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    Do we see anything other than the base? I don't remember that scene. If we see the traditional Minbari cruiser in it, that answers the question clearly. – John O Jul 7 '13 at 16:35
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    Given that human technology had more-or-less caught up with Minbari technology within a decade of 2254, Minbari technological progress would have to be incredibly slow for their 1260 AD tech to be superior to Human 2254 tech. – user3069 Jul 7 '13 at 16:36
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    @MarkBannister It only caught up because Earth had access to Whitestar tech, which was both Minbari and Vorlon in nature. – John O Jul 7 '13 at 17:22
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Minbari technology in 1260 AD was more advanced that human technology in 2254 AD.

The answer is based on Babylon 5 Wars (B5W), a science fiction tabletop miniature wargame considered canon by J. Michael Straczynski.

The Minbari ships visible in historical videos played by Delenn in episode War Without End are Minbari cruisers of Shadow War era. These cruisers are called Tinashi War Frigate in B5W.

Tinashi War Frigate

Based on specs of Tinashi War Frigate and Hyperion Heavy cruiser, we can assume that Minbari technology was more advanced than human and remained stagnant until the second Shadow War when they received Vorlon technology. This is probably explained by no need for further advances (especially in military) during the peace times and technological superiority in Earth-Minbari war.

Tinashi War Frigate already has:

  • Gravitic Drive
  • Neutron Canon
  • Fusion Canon
  • Electro-pulse gun

Hyperion Heavy Cruiser features:

  • Conventional drive
  • Heavy laser
  • Plasma cannon
  • Pulse cannon
  • @Josh Josh, tried to reject your edit (but see it had already been approved) because if I read them correctly, they completely reverse the original (already accepted answer). I strongly encourage you to add an additional answer to the question pointing out what you believe to be the discrepancies in this one. I know you don't have enough reputation yet to add a comment to this one but mine should suffice to give folks a heads up and take a look at yours. – Stan Jul 28 '13 at 14:16
  • @Josh, that is considered vandalism. Do not do that again. If people agree with your answer, they will upvote it, and if the OP changes their mind, they will change the accepted answer. – Izkata Jul 28 '13 at 14:32
  • @Izkata Thanks, guess I wasn't paying attention to capabilities. Should have rolled it back myself. Anyway to determine who approved so they can be educated also ? – Stan Jul 28 '13 at 15:16
  • @Stan Not as far as I know – Izkata Jul 28 '13 at 15:34
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The Minbari tech of circa 1200 AD is not visibly significantly less than that of 2260 AD. We see this in both the artifacts (still in use by the Grey Council, most notably the triluminaries) from that era, and in Sinclair's arrival in the past as Valen. They were spacefaring and presumably using Gravity Drives already during the 1200's Shadow War. We know the Vorlons made use of them, and also had not shared technology with them.

It's also stated that they are the oldest of the Younger Races still active. The Vorlons and Shadows being the last of the ancient races...

Given that Earth in 2260 is not yet Shadow-Tech augmented as a rule, and is not using Gravity Drives, and can't even acquire Minbari ships as targets... At worst, the Minbari of the 1260 Shadow war are a slight bit ahead; at best, they've been stagnant for millennia, and only start to advance again in 2259 with the Vorlons finally giving them the boost up to Organic Ships (such as the Whitestar).

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    Side note, the triluminaries aren't Minbari tech - they all came from Epsilon 3. – Izkata Jul 10 '13 at 10:58
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Recall that the Babylon project was a joint effort between Minbari and Human. Thus, they included some form of "modern" Minbari tech, and could probably be used to bump up the tech level of the past ships. In addition, it's something of a morale thing. Giant space station appearing in the midst of your darkest hour, heavily armed and having room for hundreds of thousands of injured, refugees, or non-coms. That kind of thing would have seriously bolstered the Minbari's spirits, given them some hope, and something else worth fighting for.

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    The Babylon Project was purely human technology; the Minbari simply helped fund it – Izkata Jul 29 '13 at 23:20
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Minbari Tinashi War frigate overall rating: 850. Cannon Source link: 1

Earth-Alliance Nova class overall rating: 1350. Cannon Source link: 2

Earth-Alliance Babylon station overall rating: 3000. Cannon Link 3

Clearly the Earth ships have MUCH higher ratings. This is from cannon source -- B5 wars. The Babylon station is the ONLY Earth ship that traveled back to 1260AD, so knowing the power rating of the Babylon station is KEY in answering this question. Considering the Babylon station has over THREE TIMES the power rating compared to the Minbari Tinashi frigate, I think that answers the question in that Earth tech in 2254 is superior to old Minbari tech from 1,000 years ago.

If that isn't enough, here are also facts from the show itself:

  1. The Nova class was said by JMS himself to be able to dish out heavy damage to a 2250's HEAVY CRUISER -- the Sharlin. The Nova also ripped through the hull of a 2250's era Sharlin Heavy cruiser, taking out their leader. So if a 2250's Nova can do that much damage to a 2250's Minbari Sharin HEAVY cruiser, then a 1260 AD Minbari FRIGATE class ship would very likely be outgunned by a 2250's Nova DESTROYER. (Remember, Earth Nova is a DESTROYER class, while the Minbari ship from 1260 AD is a Frigate class ship, which a destroyer completely outclasses a Frigate). FRIGATE and destroyers are very, very different ships.

  2. Babylon 5 (which had less weapons than Babylon 4) was able to take out a modern day CAPITAL class Centauri Primus, the strongest ship of the Centauri Republic. If Babylon 5 can destroy the modern day Centauri Primus, then how could it not destroy a 1,000 year old Minbari FRIGATE class ship? Is this 1260 AD Minbari Frigate ship also superior to the Centauri Primus? Very, very, unlikely. ALSO: Babylon 4 was even MORE heavily armed than Babylon 5, and much larger! Babylon 4 was armed to the teeth, was miles long vs a 1,000 year old Minbari Frigate? Babylon 4 definitely has more firepower than a 1260 AD Minbari Frigate, and the weapons of Babylon 5 proved how extremely powerful they where against modern days ships (such as Babylon 5 taking out the Centauri Primus). So putting these same Babylon station weapons against a 1260AD frigate class? I think the answer speaks for itself

  3. Earth defeated the Dilgar. The Dilgar defeated even the Narns, where fleet after fleet of Narn ships fell to the Dilgar Military. (read: Dilgar war). So clearly there is no way the Minbari Frigate ship is also superior to the Dilgar ships, and the NARN G'Quan Heavy cruiser. The numbers from B5 wars don't lie, nor does common sense of knowing that a 1260AD Minbari Frirgate ship simply is not on the same level with a modern 2254 Dilgar, Narn, or Earth destroyer class ship.

Simply stating facts, and using the factual numbers from B5 wars. The Babylon station, the only Earth ship brought back in time to 1260AD, well the Babylon station has over 3 TIMES the overall rating as the Minbari ship. Numbers from B5 wars and facts/events from the show itself can give this a solid answer to the question pretty well.

1: http://www.rpgsheets.com/sheets/005092.pdf 1

2: http://www.rpgsheets.com/sheets/005054.pdf 2

3: http://www.rpgsheets.com/sheets/005001.pdf 3

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    You are comparing combat strength of two ships, that is a completely different question. Of course a heavy cruiser will have higher combat rating than a frigate. But it's the same in our world. Imagine 17th century ship of the line. Sail driven, equipped with cannons. It would outgun a police patrol boat equipped with diesel engine and a machine gun. I simply used the existing data to give proof that Minbari technology was more advanced than human. – sm4 Jul 29 '13 at 7:47
  • You are missing the key fact: The Minbari Tinashi War frigate is the ONLY known Minbari ship that existed in 1260AD. Therefore, since it was their ONLY ship in 1260AD, then yes, we can compare it to ships such as the Earth Nova class destroyer, or more importantly, compare it to the Babylon station (which outranked it by more than 3 times). Key note from all of this: Minbari Tinashi of 1260AD VS Babylon 4 station in 1260AD who traveled back in time. Who wins technology/power wise according to B5 Wars? Earth does, by more than 3 times. – Josh Jul 30 '13 at 8:58
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    You are missing the key fact that you are still answering wrong question. I agree that human ships from 2250s and B4 station were bigger and more battle-capable than Minbari frigate from 1260, but it doesn't say anything about technology. – sm4 Jul 31 '13 at 7:15

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