Bozzini, Philipp
Portrait of Philipp Bozzini
Portrait of Philipp Bozzini, 1773-1809
Int. Nitze-Leiter Research Society for Endoscopy

Philipp Bozzini (1773-1809)

Philipp Bozzini was a descendant of an old noble Italian family. His father, Nicolaus Maria Bozzini de Bozza had to flee to Germany in 1760 due to a fatal duel. In Mainz, he founded a business and married Anna Maria Florentin de Cravatte. Their son Philipp was born there on 25 May 1773. Philipp attended school in Mainz and started his medical studies there. One of his first teachers was the anatomist and surgeon Thomas Samuel Soemmering (1775-1830). Soemmering was the first to accurately number the cranial nerves.

In 1794, Bozzini transferred his studies to Jena. In 1796, he returned to Mainz and received the title Doctor of Medicine. In September of that year, he established himself as a general practitioner in Mainz. Many of his travels, particularly to the Netherlands and France, contributed to his further medical training. Two years later he married Margaretha Keck, who was the daughter of the First Councilor of Mainz. They had three children together.

Philipp Bozzini’s life was strongly influenced by the Coalition Wars between Napoleon I and the Austrian Emperor Franz I, which dominated parts of Europe from 1799 to 1802. In order to avoid having to become a French citizen, Bozzini decided to move from Mainz to Frankfurt in 1802. In 1803, he was admitted as a physician there.

Bozzini had a considerable knowledge of mathematics, philosophy and chemistry. The documents on his aeronautic studies and sketches of a flying machine unfortunately got lost. His interest in endoscopy was based upon his preference for obstetrics. Bozzini was an idealistic man who devoted himself enthusiastically to scientific studies, focusing on the Lichtleiter at last in 1804. However, he constantly struggled for his financial survival.

In 1808, Bozzini was nominated “Physicus exstraordinarius”. He thus became one of the four city physicians of Frankfurt, who were entrusted with the poorly-paid official duties of healthcare. His new duty was not only very labour-intensive (this being the times of the plague and other epidemics); it was also dangerous. In 1809, Bozzini fell ill with typhoid fever. He died of this infection on April 4, 1809 at the age of 35. His wife followed him a half year later. Their three small children were adopted by friends.