Mary the Jewess (also known as Miriam the Prophetess, and Maria Prophetissima) was one of the first generations of alchemists that lived between the first and third centuries A.D, according to Zosimos Panopolis, a Greek alchemist and mystic.
They say that she was the first true alchemist of the Western world, as she was associated with many kinds of chemical inventions. However, the main evidence for her existence was from Zosimos Panopolis, and scholars aren’t backed up with additional evidence whether she actually lived or not.
Although none of her writings have been saved, she was credited in some quotations of Hermetic Writings, a famous religious and philosophical paradigm that blends the religious elements of Christianity with neo-philosophical beliefs, alchemy, and astrological symbology.
…her name was linked with the invention of Hydrochloric acid
A notable quote associated with her was “Join the male and the female, and you will find what you seek” implying that the combination of opposite concepts like the male and female would lead to higher levels of knowledge and consciousness.
The following quote was known as the Axiom of Maria: “one becomes two, out of two becomes thee, and from the third comes the one as the fourth”, a metaphor which supports the merging of wholeness and individuality at the same time or in other words, each of us is individually part of a whole.
Mary’s contributions to chemistry
Although not officially credited by scientific scholars, her name was linked with the invention of Hydrochloric acid, a popular chemical that is used to this day in various labs and industry applications–a small amount of hydrochloric acid is even found in our stomach.
Her name was also associated with the discovery of Tribikos, a 3-arm device that was used to obtain chemical substances from distillation as well as Kerotakis, a device for heating chemicals and collecting vapors.
Ever heard of the “bain-marie” method? She was also unofficially credited with inventing this method (hence the name), which calls for using a container over a pot with steam to control the amount of heat that reaches the substance or food–a method we also use to this day when we cook.