-5.THE WANDERING MINSTREL The tales told by minstrels during the Middle Ages are called romances. The nobles of Europe lived in desolate castles then. There were few books to read, and travel was difficult. In such a life, visitors were eagerly welcomed. Most welcome of all was the minstrel. The family would gather around the fireplace of the great hall to hear the minstrel chant his thrilling tales. Through the minstrels' songs ran the theme of chivalry. Chivalry taught knights to defend the church, to make war against infidels, to be courteous and to keep their word. Around these ideals, and around the stories of history and legend that exemplified them, the minstrel built his ballads. They were called romances because the minstrels used one of the Romance languages. The theme of all these early romances is a quest or search: The knight in the story may be seeking the Holy Grail, a lost mistress or mother or father, forgiveness for a sin or adventure for its own sake.
One of the reasons why minstrels were popular in the Middle Ages was that ------ .
the majority of the people were very romantic
very few people had the ability to read
the minstrels were generally of noble birth
people had little entertainment' in their lives
people preferred listening to music to reading books
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