Francois 1er protegea Leonard de Vinci
The word protegea is non existent in any dictionary. Could it be:
protege a? I don't have french accents on my computer. Sorry.
The verb used here is protéger (to protect). That's the infinitive form, still ending in -er. In that sentence, protéger is used in the passé simple (another past tense besides passé composé which is used more for literature, scientific text, history; this is not a conversational tense but something used for writing). The meaning, because it's in the past, is François the 1st protected Leonardo da Vinci.
Hope that helps! Passé simple isn't something you'd encounter in conversation, so I hope that all makes sense!
Passé Simple Tense.
Je protége [ ai ]
Tu protége [ as ]
Il / elle / on protége [ a ]
Vous protége [ iez ]
Nous protége [ ions ]
Ils / Elles protége [ aient ]
This is, of course, to the best of my rather sporadic and limited knowledge. Anyone, please feel free to correct me. I acknowledge also that most of the people here are right. The Passé simple is almost a purely literary tense, and should never be used in conversation, formal or otherwise.
Again, good question, and thank you for posing it.
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