It seems to me that one should always mention the fact that any Alien or Boomer title is a translation, and I also think that everyone should be spanked quite hard for being absolutely ignorant of the WW II Naval ranks and ratings that Roddenberry used, as well as some of the Roman historical ranks and titles etc. that were used for the Romulan ranks and titles. In this day of widespread Internet access, such ignorance is simply unexcuseable, and that goes double for B&B Dreck.
It was my impression from this TOS episode that Romulan Centurions were a strictly aristocratic rank from the Romulan Army, and that due to their Aristocratic class, were actually higher in authority than a Romulan Commander in an overtly discriminatory two tiered rank/rating structure of Aristocrats and Commoners/Slaves. That in terms of equivalent rank, the Centurion is perhaps equal to our 20th century "Commissioned Officer" ranks of either O-3 (Army Captain) --- or more likely, an O-6 (Naval Captain/Army Colonel) --- whereas a Commander may merely equal a "Sailing Master" or "Warrant Officer", who does not hold any actual military "rank" at all, but is instead what we would now call a "Non-Commissioned Officer" having only "rating", and not military "rank". Otherwise why bother distinguishing a Romulan Captain by the term "Commander" instead of just calling calling him a Romulan Captain???
Such was the the case in the Roman Empire that whenever a Centurion took command of a vessel, he was usually the highest ranking Aristocrat and Military officer aboard, followed by his Aristocratic officers and the Commoner Citizen soldiers under his command, whereas the professional sailors and galley slaves who actually sailed the ship, being from the Non-Citizen Commoner/Slave classes, held no Military or Social rank whatsoever, and were instead merely the employees and servants of whichever Aristocrat owned the ship. Also, because of the importance that Naval battles had in the Roman Empire, Sea Centurions began taking on much more importance and actually held higher rank than their landlubber peers in much the same manner as our later Sea Captains did. And finally, in the late Roman Empire the title "Centurion" began taking on more of an aristocratic meaning with inherited privileges and so became much more than the title "leader of a hundred men" would imply in this other direction --- and I have always assumed that this was also true for the Romulan title that's being translated as "Centurion".
Do remember that most of the TOS writers and actors cut their teeth on things like Latin or at least The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire and so would have known these facts as givens.
The later European Sea Captains were originally from the Army, originally always Aristocrats, and having obtained their Military Commissions from their ruling monarch, completely outranked their Sailing Masters, who again being from the Common classes had no Military or Social rank whatsoever, but were instead professional sailors "rated" in the same manner as their ships. Eventually Sailing Masters were given "Warrants" from the ruling monarch to distinguish them from the "Common Sailors", who were little more than slaves, but again these first Warrant Officers had no actual "rank", only "rate" and "rating".
This prejudiced and discriminatory two tier rank/rating structure is still seen in 20th Century Navies, but was poorly understood by Roddenberry because he was Air Farce (sic), and because he was misled by certain 1960's propaganda that suggested Naval "ratings" were superior for his Utopic future society, being far more democratic than military "rank". Though theoretically it is possible in most modern Navies for an E-1 to eventually be promoted to O-6 (Captain/Colonel) based on merit, it almost never happens. More commonly it's your Blond college grads from Harvard or Yale who get the 90 Day Wonder promotion to the officer ranks, while the best the Enlisted Lifer with a High School diploma or GED can hope for is E-9 (Master Chief Petty Officer/Sergeant Major) or some shade of Chief Warrant Officer based on a technical speciality. Anybody else in terms of a Commissioned Officer is usually a ring knocker from the "expletive deleted" Naval Academy, fondly called Canoe-U, that in the 60's was strictly an All White Boys Club, and whose modern descendents commonly do their level best to drive out the female competition by direct physical assault. Nevertheless it is true that the US Navy was the first to employ female personnel as "Yeomanettes", eventually to the point, by the 1960's of almost entirely excluding male personnel from the speciality of "Yeoman" by which time it no longer seemed silly to refer to female personnel as "Yeomen" --- apparently because no American remembered what the original title meant.
Regarding the Vulcan titles that are translated as Commander and Sub-Commander: I expect that the Vulcans inherit the terms they use from a society formerly divided between the privileged leisure class of Aristocrats and the working stiffs of the Commoner/Slaves which they logically dumped in favor of a more nearly classless society. [From B&B Dreck one gains the impression that because Sybok's mother is a princess, this argues that the Vulcans have some form of a Constitutional Monarchy like Japan or Great Britain in which the royalty are now merely the remaining fragments from their past and whose main modern role is now religious and traditional rather than autocratic, or possibly that she is a foreign princess, perhaps of Romulan extraction.] Howeversobeit, as the Vulcan Revolution appears to have more strongly favored the Commons and Peace Movement than did our own Revolutions, I expect that the Vulcans are using the originally Commoner terms for "Sailing Master" and his "Mates" that more nearly translates as "Commander" and "Sub-Commander", rather than than the originally Aristocratic/Military titles of "Captain" and "Lieutenant" like we do, and have dropped the purely Aristocratic/Military titles like Centurion in much the same way that we Americans have dropped the title of Knight, Baron etc.
I hope that makes sense. I'm overdue for my mid morning cat nap.
- While this has seemed to go off topic, I'll try to bring it back -- when and where was "centurion" mentioned to be equivalent to "lieutenant commander"? -- Captain MKB 14:03, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
- I believe the original writer of this page was using the ambiguous scripted dialogue, not included in the aired episode, as a reference which doesn't even support the speculation. Geordi: "...and you're a centurion. Well, stay with it, you'll be a commodore someday." Bochra: "I'm not certain of the equivalent Federation rank, but I do know it's higher than lieutenant commander."  Suggesting it is possibly "commander" or some romulan intermediate rank. --Pseudohuman 15:57, 16 July 2008 (UTC)