2,500 YEAR CELEBRATION OF THE PERSIAN EMPIRE [SHAH MOHAMMAD REZA PAHLAVI. (1919-1980)]. Menu. 18pp. 4to. Persepolis, October 14, 1971. In French and Farsi. A magnificent, unsigned menu celebrating the Shah’s commemoration of the 2,500 year anniversary of the founding of the Iranian Empire, remembered as the most expensive dinner party in history.
Between October 12 and 16, 1971, Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (1919-1980) and his wife Shahbanu Farah Pahlavi (b. 1938) hosted a celebration of the 2,500th anniversary of the foundation of the Imperial State of Iran. The lavish event commemorated the founding of the Achaemenid Empire or First Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great in 550 BCE when Cyrus rebelled against and defeated the Medes. Cyrus went on to conquer surrounding kingdoms including Lydia and Babylon and a number of Greek islands during the much mythologized Greco-Persian Wars. His conquest of Babylon in 539 marked the end of nearly 400 years of Mesopotamian domination of the region and created an important cultural shift. Cyrus eventually established a far-flung, multi-ethnic empire ruled by a centralized bureaucracy, the first such government in history. The territory would be expanded by his successors, including Alexander the Great, to become the largest empire up to that point in time.