According to John Kinnamos, the tzykanion was played by two teams on horseback, equipped with long sticks topped by nets, with which they tried to push an apple-sized leather ball into the opposite team's goal (Kinnamos, 263.17–264.11). The sport was very popular among the Byzantine nobility: Emperor Basil I (r. 867–886) excelled at it, while John I of Trebizond (r. 1235–1238) died from a fatal injury during a game. The Great Palace of Constantinople featured a tzykanisterion, first built by Emperor Theodosius II (r. 408–450) on the southeastern part of the palace precinct. It was demolished by Basil I in order to erect the Nea Ekklesia church in its place, and rebuilt in larger size further east, connected to the Nea with two galleries. Aside from Constantinople and Trebizond, other Byzantine cities also featured tzykanisteria, most notably Sparta, Ephesus and Athens, an indication of a thriving urban aristocracy.
- Janin, Raymond (1964) (in French), Constantinople Byzantine. Développement urbaine et répertoire topographique, Parisnone
- Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991), Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6none
- Laiou, Angeliki E., ed. (2002), The Economic History of Byzantium: From the Seventh through the Fifteenth Century, Dumbarton Oaks, ISBN 978-0884023326, http://www.doaks.org/publications/doaks_online_publications/EconHist/EHB29.pdf