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"You all know, of course, that Hogwarts was founded over a thousand years ago – the precise date is uncertain – by the four greatest witches and wizards of the age. The four school houses are named after them: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin. They built this castle together, far from prying Muggle eyes, for it was an age when magic was feared by common people, and witches and wizards suffered much persecution." Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, chapter 9

So apparently Hogwarts was hidden in order to protect the Witches and Wizards from the Muggles of that age. Given how powerful the Founders (and, it is implied, all magic was) back then, why would they have needed to hide?

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    In a straight fight between Muggles and Wizards the Muggles would win every time. Not every Wizard is an "Omega Class" like Dumbledore or Voldemort and they need to sleep sometime. – Valorum Aug 1 '17 at 16:40
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    Also, I believe I'm right in saying that Muggles vastly outnumber Wizards. – DisturbedNeo Aug 1 '17 at 16:45
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    @DisturbedNeo - Possibly by several tens of thousands to one – Valorum Aug 1 '17 at 16:47
  • @Valorum This is certainly true, and so is Neo's good point, but historically we have seen many circumstances where the minority rules over the majority, many times in cases where the minority doesn't even possess any real power, only wealth. – Onyz Aug 1 '17 at 16:58
  • Maybe they didn't want to hurt the Muggles. – The Dark Lord Aug 1 '17 at 22:58
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Muggles were afraid of and far outnumbered wizards, and Hogwarts had untrained ones.

As your own quote says, Hogwarts was founded when a fear of magic was common.

They built this castle together, far from prying Muggle eyes, for it was an age when magic was feared by common people, and witches and wizards suffered much persecution." - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall)

The Founders had to hide Hogwarts because many Muggles feared magic. Muggles far outnumbered wizards, so if Muggles decided to destroy Hogwarts, they'd likely either succeed outright or else do a lot of damage, even if wizards are more skilled generally. Mobs and guerrilla tactics can eventually defeat even the most skilled opponents, especially if their numbers are small. We know there are far more Muggles than wizards, so the Muggles would either win or decimate the wizarding population in a Muggle/wizard war.

In addition, while the faculty might have a better chance of defending themselves, the majority of Hogwarts would be young wizards being taught to use magic, so they'd be relatively defenseless. Hogwarts would be an easy target for Muggles trying to lessen the number of wizards. If the Muggles knew of a place where they were training young wizards to do magic, of course it would be an obvious target. Not only is it somewhere that only wizards would gather, but most of them would be untrained students and therefore easier to kill.

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    Given the quote in my question implying that the year was ~900AD, wouldn't the feudal states (correct me if I'm wrong here, please, my European history, especially as it relates to Harry Potter, is quite foggy.) be extremely fragmented and rival one another? Certainly, witches were feared by the common folk then, but they do not command nations. An attack on Hogwarts would surely be an overextension by the lord in question, and leave them vulnerable to attack from other Muggles. That aside, though, is there any info on how much a typical wizard could do, in the age of the founding? – Onyz Aug 1 '17 at 17:19
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    (cont) I'm curious what info there is in terms of potion brewing, spellcasting, and charm-making for the average witch/wizard of that era. It seems to me that even one particularly gifted Witch or Wizard could brew a devastating potion or craft a horrible charm that would repel any Muggle army in rather short order. – Onyz Aug 1 '17 at 17:23
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    Yup. "She turned me into a newt!" "A newt?" "I got better....". Floating or sinking, burning or not burning, I could imagine that a magical society would want to go into hiding, esp. as the populace got more fearful and the church grew in strength... – ivanivan Aug 2 '17 at 23:08
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Wizard-Muggle relations were pretty bad back then. This lead to several possible reasons for hiding:

  • Hogwarts was meant to be a school, not a military fortress, and fighting off Muggles would have interfered with the education. Hogwarts would either be less effective or require more wizards for protection against Muggles.
  • Open conflicts, like around a castle, would have worsened the relations between wizards and Muggles. Why risk that, if hiding seems to be possible without any problems?
  • There was an enormous risk to wizardkind, should Hogwarts be succesfully attacked by muggles. Seven years of wizard breeding could be wiped out in one unlucky instance. Additionally, the damage to the school's reputation could be fatal.

With all these points in mind, what's the point in not hiding?

Even if the wizards somehow desired a conflict with ignorant Muggles, they could choose any place for it. Why the school? Normally, people tend to make sure their children are safe.

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