It makes me wonder whether there are antecedents to the story of Diego Hervas related by the Reprobate Pilgrim as a cautionary tale. The man spends his whole life attempting to sum up in encyclopedic fashion all the categories, as well as the content, of human knowledge. He succeeds in his scholarly effort, but the world takes no notice, and he succumbs to a madness in which his immense erudition becomes merely a jumble of irrational and unresolvable links.
There can be no final summation to this work without much re-reading and contemplation, but it is safe to say that there is much worth pondering in this book. It contains the trivial and profound, a humanist impulse to raise man above superstition, a broad cross-section of individuals living and breathing large in the expanse of the Mediterranean-linked kingdoms of its time.
If nothing else, I learned that a dog may be loyal but will never fight a duel over a point of honor. Or to try to make this seem more profound-- that man is the only animal with the capacity to attempt to shape his own nature.