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Would we consider the Roman use of auxiliaries to be like the modern use of mercenaries? For example, Caesar had auxiliaries (Gallic cavalry, slingers). Would these troops have been hired on a contract basis? Would they have been hired for say, one year, or one campaign (for the duration)? If this is so, do we have a trend for longer enlistments/contracts. Perhaps under the empire auxiliaries served for 15-20 years, in which case they would not be considered mercenaries in the modern sense? For example, I am not sure that most people would consider the Gurkha's to be mercenaries, although it seems to me that is exactly what they are.
Well Ceasar's Gauls could be described as allies but his Balearics and Cretans probably fit as mercenaries.
Depends on point of view I guess.
Kind regards
It depends. you have to make a difference between mercenaries, auxilia and allied contingents.

mercenaries are soldiers which are hired for a certain job or duty,paid and later when done go to search for another job. Xenophon's Anabasis is a good example if you want to read about mercenaries for example.

auxilia are simply a branch of the regular Roman army.with eques, footsoldiers, archers a.s.o. these are standing units in Roman service. the definition of who belongs to the auxilia and what they represent changes between the time of Augustus where they really came into existance and the late empire. to make it simple you could just see them as one part of the army, like you have marines,tank divisions, airforce, a.s.o.

allies are tribes or kings or towns which sealed a contract and provide troops for certain campaigns. take a look at Vespasian's army during the Judean war for example.

then we have the foederati in the later empire. they are allies but with a different legal status as to become a foederati you'd have to submit to Rome first, then be granted the right to be leader of your people by the Romans and could then lead your contingent(this is an oversimplification)
Thanks guys. So far your responses match my understanding of the situation. But I was not sure that I was right.

I guess that means that troops like slingers and archers at the time of Marius and Caesar would most likely be mercenaries.
IIRC Caesar had also Spanish cavalry in his army. Late republican armies used mainly mercenary cavalry. They were hired not as individuals, but as chieftains with their followers.
IIRC, there was a distinct difference between mercenaries (which I agree with previous posts would include units like the Cretan Archers and Balearic Slingers), auxilia (which were regular units of the Army) and bands of Soldiers hired through their individual chieftains which, as I understand, were referred to as "numeri." "Numeri" would be the term I would apply to Caesar's Gallic/Germanic/Spanish Cavalry, while "mercenaries" would apply to the Balearics/Cretans, since many Armies of the Mediterranean world employed these units on a regular basis. Providing mercenary units was the cottage industry of the Balearic/Cretan Isles.

Numeri were used for a season or series of campaigns, fought under their own organic leadership and task organization, and were not considered a part of the regular military establishment. I also seem to recall, however, that some units of numeri were eventually brought into the Army as regular auxiliaries, gaining a regular organization and equipment but losing some of their distinctive characteristics over time.

Edge
The problem with your original question is that during Caesar's time in the late Republic the leader of an army was responsible for the army so the organisation of support troops was completely up to a man like Caesar or Crassus. So probably most of their "auxilia" were mercenaries or soldiers provided by tribes with which the commander made a more or less personal contract and not necessarily a contract between the state and the tribe.
Absolutely, Sulla.

I made a big mistake in my post above -- was thinking of an Imperial Army vice Caesarian. In his time, it was, IIRC, exactly as you state.

Edge