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Athens is the ancient and modern capital of Greece.

The Heroes of Olympus

The Blood of Olympus

The crew of the Argo II lands in Athens to battle the giants.

The Parthenon


The Parthenon, built between 447-432 BCE, is the most notable temple on the acropolis at Athens. Dedicated to Athena (the patron goddess of the city), it is a Doric style temple that is eight columns wide and seventeen columns deep and was originally decorated with many intricately crafted statues. The most important of those statues was a massive statue of Athena made of ivory and gold that once stood inside the temple.

During Xerxes', the king of Persia, invasion of Greece in 480 BCE Athens was burned following the defeat of the Greek army at Thermopylae. After the war ended in Greek victory, Athens began a massive rebuilding project on the Acropolis to replace the older temples destroyed by the Persians. The Parthenon was intended to be a testament to the greatness and power of Athens. The funding for the project, however, came largely from other city-states. The treasury of the Delian league, which had originally been formed for the purpose of fighting the Persians, was utilized for Athens' rebuilding efforts, including the Parthenon. As a result, the Parthenon was also a symbol of the simmering resentment against Athenian Imperialism in the Ancient Greek world. The Parthenon is sometimes referred to as The Temple of Minerva.

This Greek building has an almost exact replica in the United States. It is located in Knoxville, Tennessee and is open to visitors and tourists. It appears in film adaptation of The Lightning Thief.

The Parthenon (2009)

After the Athenian Empire

In the fifth century the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church, which it remained until the Ottoman Turks captured the city in 1456 and converted it into a mosque. When the Venetians besieged the city of Athens in 1687, the Ottoman's fortified the acropolis and stored gunpowder in the Parthenon. When the Venetians bombarded the city the Parthenon was hit, "The consequent explosion almost completely demolished the cella and its frieze, eight columns on the north side and six on the south, with their entablatures".

The Parthenon remained in disrepair for many years, with grave questions about its structural stability. Beginning in 1975, the Greek government began a rebuilding effort on the Parthenon, primarily to restore the structural stability of building and not to completely rebuild the structure. This process has not yet been completed. 

In the United States of America, there is an identical version of the Parthenon in Tennessee's state capital, Nashville. It is located in a Nashville park which replaced the scene of the St. Louis Arch in The Lightning Thief film. In the film they go there looking for one of the pearls. There they find the pearl on the statue of Athena and the hydra.

Origins of Athens's name

Poseidon (left) and Athena (right), the two gods that competed to be the patron of Athens.

Athena and Poseidon competed for patronage at the rise of the city. Creating a gift for the city, Poseidon created the first horses (in some versions, a saltwater spring), while Athena created an olive tree for her gift. The people of Athens appreciated Athena's olive tree over the horses and Athena won the contest. Since then, Poseidon and Athena have had a rivalry. This is why the city is named Athens, as Athena won and therefore became the patron of the city. It is also why the people of Athens had to be careful when going out to sea. It is only mentioned when Annabeth Chase explains why she doesn't get along with Percy Jackson, (in The Lightning Thief) and when he describes Mount Olympus.

Peloponnesian War

Athens had to go to war with another Greek city-state when Sparta claimed that Athens was getting richer from the Delian League, a union of city-states after the collapse of the remnants of Persian Empire control in Greece. This was a terrible war because it caused problems for Athens when the city-state was trying to win the war. During the war, it seemed that Athens was going to defeat Sparta and take power and control over Sparta. However, towards the third phase of the Pelopponesian War, a terrible plague occurred in the city-state and killed millions of Athenian civilians within the city walls. Within seconds, almost every citizen in Athens was hit by the plague (especially their leader at the time of the war). So many devastation and the outburst of the unknown plague in the city caused the moral of the Athenian Army to demoralize which give Sparta an advantage over Athens. In the end, Athens lost to Sparta and the remainder of its former glory and power dwindled away to nothing.

Center of Ancient Greek Civilization

A map of Greece showing Athens.

Athens is the center of Ancient Greek civilization after its citizens took a chance to break away from Persian Empire control. Then from that point onward, Athens became the capital of Greece and produced several notable Greek literature that still exist today.


  • Ironically, though the Athenians chose Athena over Poseidon as their patron deity, its greatest king was Theseus, the son of Poseidon, and the step son of Aegeus of Athens.
  • In The Lightning Thief, Percy sarcastically says that the people of the city must have loved olives because they chose the olive tree as their favorite gift, although he says that if Athena had created pizza, he would understand.
  • The Athenians eventually had to build an Acropolis, honoring both Athena and Poseidon, in order to appease the Sea God's wrath.
  • There are cities in Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama that are named after Athens, as well as Athens State University in Athens, Alabama.
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