The year 221 B.C.E. was a turning point both for Rome and for Roman art. Breaking with precedent, Marcellus, conqueror of the fabulously wealthy Sicilian Greek city of Syracuse, brought back to Rome not only the usual spoils of war -captured arms and armor, gold and silver coins, and the like- but also the city’s artistic patrimony. Thus began, in the words of the historian Livy, “the craze for works of Greek art.” […] Nevertheless, although the Romans developed a virtually insatiable taste for Greek “antiques,” the Etruscan basis of Roman art and architecture was never forgotten. The buildings and statues of the Roman Republic are highly eclectic, drawing on both Greek and Etruscan traditions.
Eclecticism is the primary characteristic of the Republican temple on the east bank of the Tiber popularly known as the Temple of the Fortuna Virilis. It is actually a temple dedicated to Portunus, the Roman god of harbors. Its plan follows the Etruscan pattern with a high podium and a flight of steps only at the front. Freestanding columns are confined to the deep porch. But the structure is built of stone (local tufa and travertine), overlaid originally with stucco in imitation of Greek marble.
The columns are not Tuscan but Ionic, complete with flutes and bases, and there is a matching Ionic freeze. Moreover, in an effort to approximate a peripteral Greek temple yet maintain the basic Etruscan plan, the architect added a series of engaged Ionic half columns to the sides and back of the cella. The result was a pseudoperipteral temple. Although the design combines Etruscan and Greek elements, the resultant mix is uniquely Roman.
-Gardner’s Art Through the Ages, Enhanced Edition, Volume I.