Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/131
SKETCH OF JAMES FERGUSSON.
a confused mass of conflicting theories and dreams, that no facts or dates were so established that they could be treated as historical. The materials which had been collected on this subject were, therefore, worked into another book, which appeared in 1872, as "Rude Stone Monuments." Its character was rather argumentative than historical; it presented the view that the style of architecture to which the monuments described belong "is a style, like Gothic, Grecian, Egyptian, Buddhist, or any other. It has a beginning, and middle, and an end; and though we can not make out the sequence in all its details, this at least seems clear—that there is no great hiatus; nor is it that one part is historic, while the other belongs to prehistoric times. All belong to the one epoch or the other. Either it is that Stonehenge and Avebury, and all such, are the temples of a race so ancient as to be beyond the ken of mortal men, or they are the sepulchral monument of a people who lived so nearly within the limits of the true historic times that their story can easily be recovered." The author's belief was that they were of Roman and post-Roman times. These conclusions were disputed; Sir John Lubbock pronounced some of them hasty and untenable, and some seemingly inconsistent with one another; but for all that he accorded the book "the merit of being a rich and trustworthy storehouse of facts." Another critic, Mr. S. P. Oliver, while he accepted Sir John Lubbock's verdict, predicted that the book would doubtless become a text-book on that section of archæology which pertains to megalithic structures.
In his treatise on "Tree and Serpent Worship," which was published in 1868, and in a second edition in 1873, Mr. Fergusson, availing himself of the results of his laborious researches in India, presented some original views respecting the symbolism of the ancient religions, and the primitive conceptions from which they may have arisen.
Another line of work in which Mr. Fergusson distinguished himself by his diligence and the novelty of some of his conclusions, was that of Jewish, Assyrian, and classical antiquities, the fruits of his studies in which were presented in a variety of publications and shapes. In the "Topography of Jerusalem " he set forth some theories in regard to the true site of the temple which appear to have been set aside by later explorations. This was followed by other papers and articles respecting Jerusalem and its sites. In "The Palaces of Nineveh and Persepolis restored" he attempted an exposition of the architecture of Western Asia from the earliest period to the age of Alexander. By papers and suggestions he advised and assisted Sir Henry Layard in restoring the plans and explaining the designs of the temples of Nineveh; and he did a like service for Dr. Schliemann in unraveling the plans of Troy, Mycenæ, and Tiryns. The value of these services was freely acknowledged by Dr. Schliemann, who, dedicating his "Tiryns" to him, styled him "the historian of architecture, eminent alike for his