Riordan Wiki

The Continental United States, the epicenter of Western Civilization.

Come now, Percy. What you call Western Civilization... is a living force, collective consciousness that has burned bright for thousands of years. The gods are part of it, [a] fire started in Greece. The heart of the fire moved to Rome, and so did the gods... wherever the flame was brightest, the gods were there. They are now in your United States. Look at your symbol, the eagle of Zeus. Look at the statue of Prometheus in Rockfeller Center... like it or not—America is now the heart of the flame. It is the great power of the west. And so Olympus is here.

Chiron explaining Western Civilization to Percy in, The Lightning Thief.

Western Civilization is a metaphysical force which moves with the flow of civilization. It is the pure essence of mankind's culture and connects together everything that constitutes humanity's collective spirit and civilization. Occasionally referred to as the "flame" by immortals, demigods, and monsters, this force moves with the center of human prosperity and influence, and was originally founded in Greece. From there, it was carried by Zephyros, the Western wind, to Rome, and then traveled across Europe, stopping in Germany, France, Spain, and eventually ending up in Great Britain for a while. The current center of the "flame" has been in America since 1860 [1], precisely in New York City, with Mount Olympus located above the Empire State Building.

The Olympians are intimately connected to Western Civilization as they are both its source and its embodiment. Since the rise of Greece, when the gods resided on the actual Mount Olympus, their home has also shifted location to correspond with the epicenter of human society. This connection resulted in a profound effect on the gods and mortal civilization. Should Western Civilization decline, the gods would be severely weakened, and if the Olympian order was overthrown, then human civilization would unravel at the seams, degenerating into chaos.

When Western Civilization shifts from one place to another, certain aspects go with it, such as the labyrinth, the Sea of Monsters, entrances to the Underworld, Mount Othrys, Typhon's prison, and Olympus itself.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

The Lightning Thief

Chiron mentions Western civilization while talking to Percy Jackson about Greek gods and goddesses.

The Last Olympian

Dionysus tells Percy that if Olympus is destroyed, then Western Civilization will perish with it.

The Trials of Apollo

The Hidden Oracle

Chiron and Apollo/Lester recall that the Olympians moved to America ca. 1860.

Known Western Civilization


  • The USA is the only known Western Civilization not to be in Europe.
    • Athena once told Apollo that Western Civilization may migrate to Brazil one day.

See also


  1. The Hidden Oracle, pg 177 (Ebook)