Catha, or Cautha, is an Etruscan Goddess of the Sun who is sometimes shown as male. As a male Solar Deity, Catha is equated with the Greek Sun-God Helios. Other sources, however, name Usil as the Etruscan Sun-God, though on one mirror Usil is shown as a goddess as well. Catha is from the Etruscan root cath-, meaning "the sun", and was also in use as a family name among the Etruscans. Both Usil and Catha are sometimes described as rising from the Sea at dawn, though how the Sun manages to rise from the ocean off the coast of Etruria, which is located on the western side of the Apennines, is anyone's guess, unless that particular iconography originally comes from another culture. That said, Usil is depicted on a mirror-back with Nethuns (Neptune, the Sea-God) and Thesan (the Goddess of the Dawn).
Catha is sometimes called the daughter of Usil, and associated with daybreak or sunrise; as such She may be equivalent or a sister-Goddess to Thesan. On the Liber Linteus, a fragmentary book of Etruscan ritual, which was only preserved because the linen it was written on was torn into strips and used to wrap a mummy, Catha is called Ati Catha, "Mother Catha". Ati is a title used of a few other Etruscan Goddesses such as Cels, the Earth Goddess, and Turan, the Goddess of Love. It may show especial honor or indicate that she was held in high regard among the other Goddesses.
Catha is associated in cult with Fufluns, the Etruscan Dionysos, and they may have been worshiped together, perhaps in a manner similar to Dionysos and Ariadne (whose legend was brought to Etruria, and where She was renamed Areatha), who does have attributes of a Light-Goddess, albeit starlight rather than sunlight. That Catha received organized worship is evidenced by the Etruscan phrase maru Cathsc, or "priest of Catha", and Her importance in the Etruscan Pantheon is demonstrated in Her inclusion on the Piacenza liver, a bronze representation of a liver used as a teaching tool in the art of haruspixy, or divination using animal entrails (of which the Etruscans were the acknowledged masters). She is in charge of several houses on the liver, representing different aspects of the universe; and in Etruscan sky-divination, which divides the sky in a similar manner, She occupies one of the most auspicious regions among the earth and nature Deities, that of the south-south-east (appropriate to a Sun-Goddess), right next to Fufluns.
Alternate spellings: Cautha, Cath, Ati Catha