In the ancient Roman Republic, notarii were public secretaries who were shorthand writers. They developed a service in the public marketplace to draw up legal documents and other written instruments. Wax seals were used as signatures on documents. Later, ribbons tied together multi-page documents, and wax seals on the knots showed that no one had tampered with the knots. A distinction grew up between those who attended to monetary transactions - called ARGENTARII, and those who recorded and dealt with all other contracts who were called TABELLIONES. There they conducted business for the Romans who needed written records for any particular purpose.
Over time this practice developed into a profession. The work of the ancient Roman Notary was concerned with the formal recording of private law matters, such as deeds, wills, transfers of property. In the last century of the Republic a new system of shorthand writing was invented. This Roman Shorthand was called NOTAE TIRONINAE. This took its name from Cicero's secretary M. Tullius Tiro, by whom it is said to have been invented, for the purpose of taking down his Master's speeches. From this taking shorthand "notes" came the word NOTARIUS, so we can date the origin of the term to around 100 AD. Although originally applied to the shorthand writer, over time the term NOTARIUS became reserved exclusively to the Registrars, to the secretaries of emperors, and to the highest class of officials in the Roman Privy Council and the Imperial Chancery.
NOTARII was also the name given to shorthand writers who in the early days of the Christian Church reported the examinations and trials of the early Christian martyrs and confessors. They were employed to take down in writing the whole judicial process of the Roman judges against the martyrs, and to write out the circumstances of their examination and passion. The early notary recorded the questions put to the Martyrs and the answers they gave, indeed everything that passed during their trials and suffering. These reports were called the Acts of the Martyrs.