The name of the greatest Roman poet and an early Irish saint who believed the earth was round, Virgil is rarely heard nowadays, but it retains a certain pleasantly fusty feel and likable southern twang. The first century poet known as Virgil, author of the influential epic "Aeneid," was christened Publius Vergilius Maro. Centuries later, Virgil Tibbs was the noble police detective portrayed by Sidney Poiier in two films, "In the Heat of the Night" and "They Call Me Mr. Tibbs." Currently, Virgil Minelli is a character on "The Mentalist."
Virgil was the name of one of Wyatt Earp's brothers, a Tombstone, Arizona Marshall, Virgil Thompson was a noted composer and muscologist, cartoonist Virgil Franklin Partch signed his work VIP, and astronaut Gus Grissom was born Virgil.
Virgil's greatest popularity took place in the early decades of the twentieth century: It was a Top 100 name for five years.