Minstrels and Knights
scops composed poems and performed them, usually with the accompaniment of a harp. Later, however, they were replaced by minstrels. Minstrels were a kind of professional entertainer: they would wander from court to court or had a fix abode at the court of a noble. They sang and recited lyrics and narratives, including ballads and romances.
Minstrels sang about romances whose main character was the knight, a central figure in the Middle Ages. This figure grew in importance as a result of the prosperity achieved by the courts, particularly in France, where the nobles wanted to hear stories about heroes, adventures and chivalry.
The knight was an idealised figure in literature. He was expected to uphold a code of chivalry which was usually associated with ideals of honour, courtly love and virtue. He was expected to be loyal to his king or lord, fight for him in battle and, if necessary, sacrifing himself for honour.
Another knightly phenomenon was courtly love, a love relationship between a knight and his lady, in which the knight served his beloved with the same loyalty he had for his king or lord.
The duties of a knight also included a Christian element: faith in God and commitment to fight against evil. The knight was also expected to protect the weak and the poor, to be humble before others, merciful to his enemies and gentle to the noble ladies.