According to recent excavations, the site was occupied as early as the late Neolithic period and developed through the Bronze and Iron Ages. The River Meander played an important role for the growth of the settlement.
Evidences concerning Aphrodisias in Archaic and Classical periods show a slow development of the temple of goddess in the area near the Acropolis.
After Roman capture in Asia Minor in 2C BC, the city had a reputation because of the goddess and during the Mithradatic Wars, in 82 BC., the Roman dictator Sulla, and grandfather of Memmius, had an advice from the oracle of Delpi to honour the Carian Aphrodite, and sent her a golden crown and a double axe.
On the walls of the stage building of the theatre, there were many inscriptions about the history of the city. One of these indicated a golden statue of Eros dedicated to Aphrodite by Julius Caesar. Aphrodisians was granted special privileges because of the loyalty to Octavian and Antony. This included freedom and a non-taxable status as well as increased asylum rights in Aphrodite’s sanctuary. Octavian behaved kindly to Zoilos, an Aphrodisian who was a freedman of his. He enabled a good relationship with Rome.