The Romans did not have political parties andtherefore did not have a Republican party. In the late RomanRepublic two political factions developed. One, the optimates,favoured the interest of the aristocracy and its power was based onthe unelected and aristocracy-dominated senate. The other, thepopularis, championed the cause of the poor and its power was basedon the plebeian tribunes (the representatives of the plebeians, thecommoners) and the plebeian Council.The term republican is used only in relationto the five-year rule of Julius Caesar. Caesar changed thepolitical system of the Roman Republic and concentrated power inhis hands. He changed the senate so that it was filled with hissupporters and ended the elections of public officials, who becamehis appointees. He also gave rise to suspicions that he wanted tobecome a king. Some leading men were opposed to these changes andwanted to save the Republic and did so by murdering Caesar. TheRoman Republic had been established some 500 years earlier in arebellion which deposed the last king of Rome, who was a tyrant.The Romans had decided to do away with the monarchy to prevent thereturn of tyranny. These republican men equated monarchy withtyranny.

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