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Millennium: 2nd millennium
1281 in various calendars
Gregorian calendar1281
Ab urbe condita2034
Armenian calendar730
Assyrian calendar6031
Balinese saka calendar1202–1203
Bengali calendar688
Berber calendar2231
English Regnal yearEdw. 1 – 10 Edw. 1
Buddhist calendar1825
Burmese calendar643
Byzantine calendar6789–6790
Chinese calendar庚辰年 (Metal Dragon)
3978 or 3771
    — to —
辛巳年 (Metal Snake)
3979 or 3772
Coptic calendar997–998
Discordian calendar2447
Ethiopian calendar1273–1274
Hebrew calendar5041–5042
Hindu calendars
 - Vikram Samvat1337–1338
 - Shaka Samvat1202–1203
 - Kali Yuga4381–4382
Holocene calendar11281
Igbo calendar281–282
Iranian calendar659–660
Islamic calendar679–680
Japanese calendarKōan 4
Javanese calendar1191–1192
Julian calendar1281
Korean calendar3614
Minguo calendar631 before ROC
Nanakshahi calendar−187
Thai solar calendar1823–1824
Tibetan calendar阳金龙年
(male Iron-Dragon)
1407 or 1026 or 254
    — to —
(female Iron-Snake)
1408 or 1027 or 255
Japanese attack Mongol ships, Mōko Shūrai Ekotoba (c. 1291)

Year 1281 (MCCLXXXI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


By place[edit]

Byzantine Empire[edit]

  • Spring – Siege of Berat: A Byzantine relief force under Michael Tarchaneiotes arrives at the strategically important citadel of Berat. Tarchaneiotes avoids a confrontation with the Angevines and relies on ambushes and raids instead. He manages to capture the Angevin commander, Hugh of Sully, a few of Sully's guards escape and reach their camp – where they report his capture. Panic spreads among the Angevin troops at this news and they begin to flee towards Avlon. The Byzantines take advantage of their disordered flight and attacks, joined by the troops in the besieged citadel. Tarchaneiotes takes an enormous booty, a small remnant of the Angevin army manages to cross the Vjosa River and reach the safety of Kanina.[1]
  • October 18 – Emperor Michael VIII (Palaiologos) is excommunicated by Pope Martin IV without any warning or provocation. Martin authorizes Charles I, king of Sicily, to make a Crusade against Michael, who has re-established his rule in Constantinople. Charles prepares an expedition in Sicily and assembles a fleet of 100 ships, and 300 more in Naples, Provence, and the Greek territories, which carry some 8,000 cavalrymen.[2]


Middle East[edit]

  • September – Two Mongol armies (some 50,000 men) advance into Syria. One, is commanded by Abaqa Khan – who attacks the Mamluk fortresses along the Euphrates frontier. The second one, led by his brother Möngke Temür makes contact with Leo III, king of Cilician Armenia, and then marches down through Aintab and Aleppo into the Orontes valley. Where he is joined by knights of the Hospitaller Order and some French mercenaries. Meanwhile, Sultan Qalawun assembles his Mamluk forces at Damascus.[5]
  • October 29Battle of Homs: In a pitched battle, Mamluk forces (some 30,000 men) led by Qalawun destroy the Mongol center, Möngke Temür is wounded and flees. He orders a retreat, followed by a disorganized army. The Armenian-Georgian auxiliaries under Leo III fight their way back northwards. The Mongol army recrosses the Euphrates without losses, the river remains the frontier between the Mongols and the Mamluk Sultanate.[6]
  • Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire, becomes bey of the Söğüt tribe in central Anatolia after the death of his father, Ertuğrul Ghazi. Osman's accession to power is not peaceful, as he has to fight his relatives before he gets hold of the clan's leadership. One of Osman's major rivals is his uncle Dündar Bey, who rebels against him.[7]


By topic[edit]






  1. ^ Setton, Kenneth M. (1976). The Papacy and the Levant (1204–1571), Volume I: The Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, p. 137. Philadelphia: The American Philosophical Society. ISBN 0-87169-114-0.
  2. ^ Geanakoplos, Deno John (1959). Emperor Michael Palaeologus and the West, 1258-1282: A Study in Byzantine-Latin Relations, pp. 341–42. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. OCLC 1011763434.
  3. ^ Joseph F. O'Callaghan (2011). The Gibraltar Crusade: Castile and the Battle for the Strait, p. 81. ISBN 978-0-8122-2302-6.
  4. ^ Hywel Williams (2005). Cassell's Chronology of World History, p. 149. ISBN 0-304-35730-8.
  5. ^ Steven Runciman (1952). A History of The Crusades. Vol III: The Kingdom of Acre, p. 327. ISBN 978-0-241-29877-0.
  6. ^ Steven Runciman (1952). A History of The Crusades. Vol III: The Kingdom of Acre, pp. 327–328. ISBN 978-0-241-29877-0.
  7. ^ Shaw, Stanford (1976). History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, pp. 13–14. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-29163-7.
  8. ^ Davis, Paul K. (1999). 100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present, p. 145. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-514366-9.
  9. ^ Munro, John H. (2003). "The Medieval Origins of the Financial Revolution". The International History Review. 15 (3): 506–562.