Like everyone else is saying, it is probably Greek. But it might be modern, classical modern, or Archaic Greek.
My knowledge of ancient alpha systems is not very extensive and I read it in a below average sense, but here are a few symbols in archaic and classical modern greek that I remember.
Please forgive my horrible MS paint job... I wish they had a good font for this.
Also, if you encounter upsilon, phi, chi, psi, and omega, you are dealing with classical modern greek. Archaic Greek does not possess these phonetical values.
However, I don't think that many school books include the old writing systems in their book translations. Chances are you are looking at the classical modern/German translation of the archaic word. German translation to classical modern is very common and many people mistake it for the actual ancient alpha system.
Here is an example of Hercules (the mythical figure) in Archaic, translated into classical modern, then into German (phonetical).
Note the arrow looking E (namely, epsilon). Archaic Greek can be written from either left to right or right to left. One of the main ways to determine which way the word is going is to look at the direct of the epsilons.
Also, when you are looking at a direct translation, you will see periods everywhere
. These are not periods as in sentence periods, but rather they separate individual words. Those dots could range from one dot to six dots in a cluster, etc. Seems nice until you read Homer in dactylic examiner... looks a lot like braille.
As to the meanings of those words, that depends on your ability to translate or match the translation to a listed word. If its in modern greek, you can easily find the translation on wiki or google. Typically, finding the core translations to those words is very helpful because you get purer answer. But I would not bother with it unless it was absolutely necessary.