Maimonides was born in 1135 in Córdoba, during what some scholars [attribution needed] consider to be the end of the golden age of Jewish culture in Spain, after the first centuries of the Moorish rule. At an early age, he developed a taste for the exact sciences and for philosophy. He read with zeal not only the works of Muslim scholastics, but also those of the Greek philosophers in such dress as they had been made accessible by their Arabian translators. In this way, his mind, which by nature ran in logical and systematics grooves, was strengthened in its bent; and he required that distaste for mysticism and vagueness so characteristic of his literary labors. He went so far as to abhor poetry, the best of which he declared as false, since it was founded on pure invention - and this too in a land which had produced such noble expressions of the Hebrew and Arabic muse. It is strange that this man, whose character was that of a sage, and who was revered for his person as well as for his books, should have led such an unquiet life, and have written his works so full of erudition with the staff of the wanderer in his land (1954 Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 18, p. 140). Maimonides studied Torah under his father Maimon who had in turn studied under Rabbi Joseph ibn Migash. The Almohades from Africa conquered Córdoba in 1148, and threatened the Jewish community with the choice of conversion to Islam, death, or exile. They not only captured Córdoba, but set up a form of religious persecution which happily is not always characteristic of Islamic piety (1954 Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 18, p. 140). Maimonides' family, along with most other Jews, chose exile. For the next ten years they moved about in southern Spain, avoiding the conquering Almohades, but eventually settled in Fez in Morocco, where Maimonides acquired most of his secular knowledge, studying at the University of Al Karaouine. During this time, he composed his acclaimed commentary on the Mishnah.
Following this sojourn in Morocco, he lived briefly in the Holy Land, before settling in Fostat, Egypt, where he was physician of the Grand Vizier Alfadhil and Sultan Saladin of Egypt as well, and considered to be the greatest physician of his time, being influenced by renowned Islamic thinkers such as Ibn Rushd and Al-Ghazali.  He composed most of his oeuvre in this last locale, including the Mishneh Torah. He died in Fostat, and was buried in Tiberias (today in Israel). His son Avraham, recognized as a great scholar, succeeded Maimonides as Nagid (head of the Egyptian Jewish community); he also took up his father's role as court physician, at the tender age of eighteen. He greatly honored the memory of his father, and throughout his career defended his father's writings against all critics. The office of Nagid was held by the Maimonides family for four successive generations until the end of the 14th century.