The present knowledge of electromagnetism says that a time-varying electric field generates a time-varying magnetic field and vice versa; this would result in an electromagnetic wave. Maxwell was one the greats who summed up all the seemingly disparate experimental observations into a mathematical language and ended up unifying electric and magnetic fields and predicting the existence of electromagnetic waves.
Aether played an important role in the mathematical derivation and Maxwell's model of electromagnetism where aether was taken to be a medium for the propagation of the electromagnetic wave. Maxwell also tried to come up with a working physical model(s) of aether. Didn't Maxwell see that both electric and magnetic fields can give rise to each other and propagate outward without the need of any separate medium? Why did he need aether at all? Is it possible that he didn't properly realize or visualize that electric and magnetic fields generate each other?
I think that he visualized both fields as some kind of mysterious entities or disturbances in the aether, where one disturbance gives rise to another disturbance in aether and so on. Later when aether was ruled out, those mysterious fluctuating disturbances were considered to be fluctuations and medium in one, i.e. fields. Do I make any sense?
Could you please guide me with it? Thank you!