Gilt bronze. 1 1/8” height, symmetrical with expanded terminal beams. Complying with Charlemagne’s order that all conquered peoples convert to Christianity under penalty of death! The Franks rose to power and in 800 AD Charlemagne was the first Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Northern Europe and later Italy fell to his armies. The condition for peace was acceptance of Christianity, under penalty of death. Conversion was effective and Northern Europeans, primarily Saxons, wore small crosses to affirm their Christianity. This cross is one of the earliest examples, dating to 800 AD. Professionally refurbished with the gold overlay restored.