DR. ATANAS TZONKOV BOGORIDI AND FIRST BULGARIAN DISSERTATION IN MEDICINE
A. Tz. Bogoridi is from a famous bulgarian renaissance family - grandson of Sophroni Vrazanski and brother of Stephan Bogoridi. He was born in Kotel about 1788 but settled in Arbanasi, a village in Turnovo region. Bogoridi graduated the Greek academy in Bucharest in the class of Lambroso Votiadi. Being a talented student afterwards he was appointed a professorship in classical languages in the same school. In 1811 he departs for Vienna to study medicine. At the same time he becomes active member of greek revolutionary movement “Philiki Eteria” and consequently the city council authorities expelled him from town and Bogoridi departs for Würzburg, Germany to continue his studies. In 1816 after a successful promotion he graduates with a doctoral dissertation “On the problems of digestion in human stomach”. Next year the monograph is printed by Frans Ernst & Publishers.
In a while Bogoridi departs for Valachia, the city of Yash, where he works for some time general practice but afterwards he moves to Vienna and still later to Paris with the intention to specialize in hospitals. Meanwhile he regularly contributes to scholarly journals. Unfortunately, on 1 Mart 1826 Bogoridi dies after short illness in the prime of his life. On this occasion his close friend Teoklit Farmanidis writes an obituary, with notes on his life and activities, published in the official organ of “Philiki Eteria” at the city of Navlion, Greece. Another Greek scholar, Moschopulos writes accordingly: We have to mark down that Atanas Bogoridi was one of the greatest bulgarian scholars and patriots from the beginning of XIX century. He was an active contributor to the journal “Logios Hermes”, published in Vienna. Further we see an acknowledgement for his work in the words of Bulgarian penman Grigor Purlichev when the latter polemizes with Greek professor Orfanidis in 1860, namely: Bulgarian Atanas Bogoridi was the energetic apostle of “Eteria” during his stay in Vienna. He was always exposed to the danger of being arrested by the Austrian police.
A closer look at the dissertation of A. Bogoridi reveals 55 pages written in German alphabet. We see that the process of digestion is examined in details with good knowledge of the anatomy of abdomen and intestines, however, physiological processes are poorly described and he uses naturphilosophical speculations… The author considers water a common nutritional substance as is evident from empirical evidence that plants subside on water and animals subside directly or indirectly on plants – ergo, water is a prime mechanism for existence of life and plants and animals are confined in a repeated metamorphosis of water. He further makes guesses on the role of saliva in mouth and comparing with gastro-intestinal juices makes a difference. Then he tries to explain mechanism of digestion with chemical, mechanical and thermal factors, however, not knowing its constituents /i.e. enzymes/ he entails in different speculations on material substratum rather than some supreme, abstract vital force. One way or another his discussion rests on mechanistic not idealistic concepts and correspond to the matter of science of the day.
Finally, we can say that a short life did not give opportunity to this talented Bulgarian scholar and man of the revival period to fully manifest his versatile abilities.