|Centuries:||5th century – 6th century – 7th century|
|Decades:||550s 560s 570s – 580s – 590s 600s 610s|
|Years:||578 579 580 – 581 – 582 583 584|
|581 by topic|
|State leaders – Sovereign states|
|Birth and death categories|
|Births – Deaths|
|Establishment and disestablishment categories|
|Establishments – Disestablishments|
|Ab urbe condita||1334|
|Chinese calendar||庚子年 (Metal Rat)
3277 or 3217
— to —
辛丑年 (Metal Ox)
3278 or 3218
|- Vikram Samvat||637–638|
|- Shaka Samvat||503–504|
|- Kali Yuga||3682–3683|
|Iranian calendar||41 BP – 40 BP|
|Islamic calendar||42 BH – 41 BH|
|Minguo calendar||1331 before ROC
|Seleucid era||892/893 AG|
|Thai solar calendar||1123–1124|
Year 581 (DLXXXI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 581 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
- Byzantine–Sassanid War: A Byzantine army under command of Maurice with support of Ghassanid forces under king Al-Mundhir III fails to capture the Persian capital, Ctesiphon, along the Euphrates.
- Maurice accuses Mundhir III of treason and is brought to Constantinople to face trial. Emperor Tiberius II Constantine treats him well and allows Mundhir with his family a comfortable residence.
- Al-Nu'man VI, son (de facto) of Mundhir III, revolts with the Ghassanids against the Byzantine Empire after his father is treacherously arrested.
- Palace coup in Austrasia; new advisors break the peace treaty with king Guntram and make a new alliance with his half brother Chilperic I in which Childebert II, age 11, is recognized as Chilperic's heir.
- The Lombards under Zotto, Duke of Benevento, sack the abbey of Monte Cassino near Naples. The Benedictine monks who survive flee to Rome, but they return to the site, and rebuild the monastery.
- The Göktürks under Taspar Qaghan besiege the city of Chersonesos Taurica (modern Ukraine) located at the Black Sea, their cavalry keep plundering the steppes of the Crimean Peninsula until 590.
- The Anglo-Saxons under Ælla conquer Deira (Northern England) from the Britons. He becomes the first king of Deira (according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle).
- The Northern Zhou Dynasty ends: Yáng Jiān executes the last ruler Jing Di, age 8, along with 58 royal relatives at Chang'an. He proclaims himself emperor and establishes the Sui Dynasty in China.
- The "Great City of Helu", situated on the shores of Taihu Lake, is renamed Suzhou during the Sui Dynasty (approximate date).
- In Turkish Empire an interregnum begins since there are several candidates to the throne; Talopien (Late khagan's candidate), Ishbara (Kurultay's choice) and Tardu (western yabgu).
- Ishbara Qaghan, grandson of Bumin Qaghan, becomes the new ruler (khagan) of the Turkic Khaganate (Central Asia).
- Maurice writes an encyclopedic work on the science of war (the "Strategikon"), which exercise a major influence on the military system.
- Synod of Mâcon: In a council of Christian bishops in Mâcon (Burgundy) Jews are prohibited from serving as judges of customs officers.
- Sun Simiao, Chinese medicine doctor (approximate date)
- Yan Shigu, Chinese author of the Tang Dynasty (d. 645)
- Feng Xiaolian, concubine of Gao Wei (approximate date)
- Jing Di, Chinese emperor of Northern Zhou (b. 573)
- Taspar Qaghan, ruler (khagan) of the Göktürks
- Treadgold, p. 226
- Martindale, Jones& Morris 1992, p. 36
- Shahîd 1995, p. 459–462
- Grousset 81