The word Renaissance means re-birth. Around 1400 CE there was a tremendous shift in visual arts and other aspects of culture. One major influence in the Renaissance was an appreciation for Greek and Roman art and philosophy. While a lot of the works of Plato, Aristotle and others had been lost to Europeans in the middle ages, many of the ancient texts had been translated by Muslim scholars starting around the 8th century and through trade, the texts were re-introduced to Europe. The Italian peninsula was a center for trade bringing together people of various cultures to spread ideas, and resulting in wealthy city-states that could support a thriving arts community. Still, the Renaissance also took hold in Northern Europe although it did look a little different.