Maria the Jewess, said to have lived between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, is credited with the discovery of hydrochloric acid, the chemical water bath (or bain-marie) and the creation of the 3-chambered distillation still. She was the inventor of what came to be known as The Axiom of Maria:
"It begins with the four separate elements, the state of chaos, and ascends by degrees to the three manifestations of Mercurius in the inorganic, organic, and spiritual worlds; and, after attaining the form of Sol and Luna (i.e., the precious metal gold and silver, but also the radiance of the gods who can overcome the strife of the elements by love), it culminates in the one and indivisible (incorruptible, ethereal, eternal) nature of the anima, the quinta essentia, aqua permanens, tincture, or lapis philosophorum. This progression from the number 4 to 3 to 2 to 1 is the 'axiom of Maria'…"
- Carl Jung, writing on Maria's studies.
A scientist, a prophetess, and a friend and counsel to many men in her field, she was, like Hypatia of Alexandria and Hildegard von Bingen, a woman on the cusp of old and new visions of religion and freedom, one that would be lost to the ages for centuries.