Christianized as of the fourth century, Ethiopia was long ruled by the Solomonid dynasty, which claimed descendance from King Solomon, a figure in the Bible. The Ethiopian empire was in fact the sole realm to maintain its independence during the colonial partition of Africa. Emperor Iyasu I gave this processional cross to the Debre Berhan Selassie Church in Gondar, possibly when it was consecrated in 1694. Both a cross with protective powers and an icon, it is inscribed with a number of religious scenes. On one side appear the Trinity, Resurrection and Crucifixion, as well as the Ethiopian saints Ewostatewos and Takla Haymanot, while the other shows the Virgin and Child, Ascension, Transfiguration and the apostles Peter and Paul.