She was a devotee of the goddess Artemis. When a shepherd, Hymen, pursued Nicaea, she killed him with an arrow to the heart. This enraged Eros, who inspired Dionysus to fall in love with her. Dionysus pursued her for a long while. When she continued to spurn his advances, Dionysus intoxicated her and then raped her while she slept.
Nicaea conceived Telete from this union; after her daughter’s birth, Nicaea attempted to hang herself. Although surviving stories do not tell if she made any further suicide attempts, she did live to see Aura, another nymph impregnated by Dionysus in the same manner, going into labor and giving birth to Iacchus, as described in Nonnus’s Dionysiaca.
Dionysus named the city Nicaea after her.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
- Theoi: Nikaia http://www.theoi.com/Nymphe/NympheNikaia.html