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==The De Medici and the revival of Greek Learning==
The Renaissance was inspired by the Classical World of Ancient Greece and Rome. However, until the fifteenth century, the Italian humanists only knew of Ancient Greece and the great works of Plato and the other great Greeks through the Romans. Cosimo the Elder helped to introduce Ancient Greek manuscripts and culture into Italy. Cosimo the Elder sought to end the schism in the Christian Church. He helped to negotiate the union of the Catholic and the Orthodox Church that was formalized at the Council of Florence in 1439. This Union ultimately failed but it was to have a profound impact on the development of the Renaissance. The Byzantine Emperor visited Florence in 1493 to ratify the Union and he was attended by several hundred followers among them the great Neoplatonist philosopher George Gemistos Plethon <ref> Miles, p. 123</ref>. Cosimo had failed to achieve a lasting union between the eastern and the western Church. However, he inspired renewed interest in the works of the Greeks as he patronized several Greek scholars from Byzantium and appears to have secured some manuscripts that were previously unknown in Florence. In the Byzantine Empire, there were many great works from the Greek past that were unknown in Italy. The city of Florence soon became the center for the study of Ancient Greek culture and Neoplatonism, became very influential<ref>Hibbert, p. 134</ref>. The increasing interest in Greek culture was to direct the Renaissance in new directions and inspired a new generation of writers and philosophers such as Pico Della Mirandola.
[[File: De Medici One.jpg|thumbnail|200px|Michaelangelo – whose patrons were the De Medici]]
==De Medici as Patrons==