This example was erected in the capital city of Kalhu (modern Nimrud) by the Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad V (reigned 824-811 BC). Most stele, as here, depict the king, before the symbols of his principal gods. He extends his right hand, with the forefinger outstretched, as if he has just snapped his fingers. This is the typical Assyrian gesture of respect and supplication towards the gods. The gods could be worshipped in symbolic form and here represent (from top to bottom) the gods Ashur, Shamash, Sin, Adad and Ishtar (compare with an earlier stela of Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC)). The king wears a large Maltese cross on his chest as an alternative symbol of Shamash, god of the sun and justice.Actually the cross is known as the croix pattée alésée arrondie, and was used by none other than the Knights Templar, primarily in stone carvings. Below is the cross as used by Shamshi (whose name is the ceremonial form of Shamash) and two Templar carvings. Incidentally, Shamshi was the husband of the real-life Semiramis.
What tantalizes us here is that this cross is identified with a Sun god eight centuries before Christ, and was taken up by the Templars, whom I believe to be the Medieval incarnation or branch of the impossibly ancient Solar cults such as the Shemsu Hor. (Shemsu and Shamshi certainly bear a very strong etymological resemblance, don't they?)
This certainly adds a new wrinkle to the argument that Christianity and Solarism are contiguous systems separated only by politics. Or more accurately, separated for the masses by politics. It's certainly starting to seem to me that there's no disagreement at the highest levels at all. Maybe if we get around to realizing that, we can all stop putting up with idiots when it comes to religion in politics.
Check out other uses of the cross pattee by the Templars here, here and here.